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Andrea Morales (Paperback)

Roll Down Like Water

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Photography

Imprint: Paul Holberton Publishing
Pages: 160
Illustrations: 65
ISBN: 9781913645724
Published: 15th September 2024

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This vibrant catalogue showcases a decade’s work by Memphis-based Peruvian-
American photographer Andrea Morales (b. 1984), whose camera sympathetically
delves into community life and activism in the American South. It accompanies her
first major exhibition at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, represents the first
scholarly publication on her work, and the first major museum exhibition dedicated
to movement journalism.
The unofficial capital of the Mississippi Delta, Memphis, Tennessee, has long been a
place bubbling with activism and social movements. Roll Down Like Water – a nod to Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic last speech in the city in support of the 1968 Sanitation
Workers’ Strike – shows Andrea Morales’s incredible ability to engage with her subjects,
in Memphis and the surrounding region, through the lens. From intimate portraits and
records of daily life to the documentation of social and environmental movements with
local and national resonance, her photography builds a passionate and tender portrait of
this unique part of the American South.
The energy vibrating through Morales’s stills is the energy of the people themselves:
the artist centres her practice on building long-term relationships with the communities
she photographs, and views this relationship as one of collaboration rather than
detached observation. Her approach is informed by ‘movement journalism’, which
recognizes that journalism, like the camera, is not totally objective: behind laptops and
lenses are people, institutions and systems that hold and wield power, for good or ill.
By establishing a human connection between chronicler and people and rooting it in
an ethical and rigorous framework, Morales’s ‘community-driven visual storytelling’
reaches beyond historical injustice to capture the liveliness and joy of the communities
she photographs.
For Memphis, and Morales, King’s words loom large. Echoing his description
of collective liberation as ‘an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single
garment of destiny’, Morales’s captivating images of the American South in
moments of turbulence, stillness, darkness and beauty chart new, sustainable paths
in photojournalism, while reflecting upon identity, community and the power of
storytelling.

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