The one word title of Mark Steinmetz's exhibition--South--serves notice of what we can expect from images so deadpan that they suggest comments like "yep," or "nope," or "maybe." Inspired by great street photographers like Gary Winogrand or Robert Frank, who captured the manic dynamism of 20th century American life, Mark Steinmetz focuses on the poetically pensive moments of ordinary Southerners. In Athens, GA, top, a girl lounges on a car amid the bland nocturnal chaos of a parking lot sometime in the 1990s, seemingly pondering personal mysteries. Her "lost in thought," aura has much in common with a shot of a guy in a t-shirt furtively smoking a cigarette as he clutches a styrofoam cup in a wooded patch in Johnson City, TN, 1995. Like characters in Raymond Carver short stories, or Randy Newman's Good Ole Boys album, they epitomize the folks who populate much of the New South and who probably don't vote, yet whose unanswered questions, and comments left unsaid, sometimes seem to hang in the air like the morning haze on a balmy summer day.
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9600; Que Bola Asere, Celebrating Cuba: Group Photography Show, Through March 8, New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, 1111 St. Mary St., 610-4899.
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