My kids are obsessed with cars lately. Even George (4) is in on it, but he is only interested in the logos. Maybe I've caught the bug too, because today I am unveiling a brand new model for you, along with a shiny new hood ornament.
It's not actually a car, or a hood ornament, but it's definitely car-related. Over the last few months, I have been working with my friend Alisa Reilley on a new logo for A Deeper South, and from the start, Alisa hit on an ingenious design that hearkened back to the WPA Guides that have been so central to our road trips since 1997.
The logo consists of three elements that tease out of the WPA aesthetic some of the central elements of A Deeper South. The first is typographical: the font is an echo of the city maps in the WPA Guides, like this one for Montgomery:
The second element is the red circle that serves as an O in SOUTH. We took this from the larger state maps in the Guides, in which a red circle often marks a noteworthy city or intersection, like this one from the North Carolina Guide:
The red O represents, for me, the intersections—of regional and personal history, of the lives of people our culture often marks as enemies, of expectation and reality—that have been so surprising to discover over the course of six Southern Tours. The red circle also hints at the often violent intersection of abstract racial ideologies with actual human beings, as in the bloody cost of Lost Cause mythology and the sacrifices it demands to its gods.
The red highway you see in the background of the header above and the image below is the third element: the scarlet thread of memory that runs through all of us, the sometimes dark and shocking stories that shape us more than we realize, the blood-red, forgotten backroads of personal, local, and national memory that we need to revisit if we want to understand who we are. This is what I am after in A Deeper South.
So in a nutshell, when I asked Alisa to help me with a logo design, she absolutely killed it:
There are four basic regions to the Deeper South site:
1. STORIES. For me this is the heart of A Deeper South: the stories that didn't make it into the classroom or into family lore. These have been by turns amusing and unsettling, but always surprising—both in themselves and because I made it to my mid-forties without ever hearing them. Some of these include my own family history, and in 2019 you will begin to hear this side of the Deeper South story.
2. STILLS. The images on this page were taken on the most recent tour in July 2018. (And for the film geeks: they were all shot on a Nikon F3 using Ilford PanF Plus 50 black and white film and processed by the Ilford Lab in California.) In the future you'll be able to see other images here from previous tours, and more from last year's.
3. FILMS. During the 2018 tour, I made a 7-minute short film about Fargo, Georgia that began as a kind of accident. I did not set out to make a short film, but early on in Tour 6 I discovered that incredible stories are everywhere, and that if you simply stop long enough to look and listen, people are eager to tell them. And people are inherently fascinating. "Fargo" was the first of an ongoing series of Deeper South Shorts, short films (6-7 minutes) shot, edited, and posted in a single day (roughly). There is no voice-over or commentary; I try to let the story of a place arise out of the unrepeatable experience of being there at a particular time with particular people. The most recent one takes Lloyd Chandler's haunting "Conversation with Death" and sets it to scenes shot in Chandler's home of Sodom, North Carolina.
4. SWAG. This is where the fun stuff is. Want a piece of A Deeper South on your wall? You can buy prints of selected images from the first six tours. Two shots from 2018 are available right now (currently in 8"x12" size), and more are on their way every day. (If you want a print of one of the photographs on the STILLS page, just holler!) Oh, and there will be HATS! T-SHIRTS! ONESIES! BRANDED MINI-VANS!
Why am I doing this?
The new website represents the bulk of my creative work right now. A book-in-progress is part of the whole project as well, but I intend the website to be its own thing, and not just to make you want to buy the book when it comes out. I hope you will, and I will still love you even if you don't, but this site allows me to do things I can't do so easily in print, like share short films and still photography. I will occasionally drip down pieces from the book into STORIES, but will also include on the website stuff you won't see in the book.
A Deeper South is also my livelihood. The proceeds from the sale of DEEPERSWAG make it possible for me to keep doing this, and pay for things like film, processing, internet domains, and Captain John Derst's Good Old Fashioned Bread for tomato sandwiches when John and I are on the road. (What's that you say? Southern Tour 7?) And there is a link on each page to contribute to A Deeper South if you feel so inclined to support what I do.
In the meantime, candler.ink is getting a massive overhaul. It will be much leaner version than before, but will point you to what I'm up to apart from A Deeper South. And as always, I'd love to hear from you!
Thank you again for hopping aboard this journey with me. I am really glad you're here.