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  • Writer's pictureSheila Pree Bright

Suburbia

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

September 15, 2023 – January 14, 2024


In 2005, I embarked on a journey to uncover the layers and intricacies of Black suburban life with the creation of the 'Suburbia' series. The series, now prominently featured in the "A Long Arc: Photography and the American South" exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA It's a testament to my commitment to challenging the often-misrepresented narratives surrounding African-American communities in the media.


My inspiration for 'Suburbia' stemmed from a simple observation: The widely circulated images in the media rarely, if ever, showcased the quiet, nuanced, everyday moments of Black life in the suburbs. The stories that were beamed into households were often rooted in stereotypes, with a tendency to lean into the chaotic, the tragic, or the exceptional. This overshadowed the truth that countless Black families were, and are, leading lives steeped in tradition, community, and ordinary beauty, just like any other American suburbia.


Suburbia' is not just a collection of photographs; it's a statement. It's a declaration that Black communities are multifaceted and that we are more than the singular stories often told about us. It's a call for everyone to look deeper, to understand more, and to see the beauty in the mundane.


As visitors walk through the exhibit, I hope they take a moment to reflect on the power of perception and the importance of broadening one’s perspective.


The American South, with all its history, complexity, and diversity, is a tapestry woven of countless stories. I am grateful for the opportunity to add the narrative of 'Suburbia' to that rich tapestry and to challenge viewers to think beyond the confines of established narratives.



A Long Arc: Photography and the American South since 1845 upcoming book will be available October 25, 2023. Publisher Aperture Magazine.

Suburbia untitled 28



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