In the past many photographers worked abroad. Jessica Ingram is part of a new generation of artists that work at home and who again tell American stories. Her work is deeply motivated by her interest in people.
GrandmaRose & Untitled from the series Hilltop High © Jess Ingram
NP: Tell us a little about yourself.
JI:I was born in
Dinner, Mamma's Glo © Jess Ingram
NP: How did you discover photography and what inspires you?
JI:I can't remember when I first started photographing, but I was young. My mom got me a Kodak 110 camera, and I was constantly taking photographs of my family, where I lived, places I visited. I remember thinking of photography as a way to remember things that were important to me, whether that was my sister, my dog, or my 6th grade trip to
NP: You earned degrees in photography and political science. Where does your interest in social science stem from?
JI: Specifically, I don't know. Both of my parents were social workers and my father became a journalist. I was encouraged to be part of community. Through these influences, and through teaching, I am interested in using photography to answer questions and get to know and understand people, whether it's people in my family, or strangers. I'm also interested in history, and thinking about the stories and history in landscapes, most recently, in the American South.
Atop Stone Mountain & Medgar Evans' Backyard, Jackson Mississppi, 2005 © Jess Ingram
NP: You were born in the South and continue to spend time there with family. Your series “A Civil Rights Memorial” confronts the history of South. What has the reception been of this project, particularly in the South?
The Southern Poverty Law Center has been amazing to repeatedly welcome me to their offices in
Untitled from the series Hilltop High © Jess Ingram
NP: Where can we see the video interviews you conducted for Hilltop High?
JI: The video interviews are in process. Raised as a photographer, my video skills are coming along. It is a very different way of working as well, which is exciting, but taking me a minute to get comfortable with. I work on all of my projects for a very long time, probably too long. I keep learning new things about people or places I'm photographing, and as long as the material is developing and engaging, I keep working. It's important to me to feel that I know what story I'm telling before I put it out to the public.
Love is the Greatest © Jess Ingram
NP: What’s next?
NP: Thank you so much!
To See more of Jessica's work visit her website www.jessingram.com and also take a look at the site of ©ause Collective -- www.causecollective.com -- a collaboration between different artists that Jessica is a contributing to.