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W. Eugene Smith Fund : W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography : Melissa Lyttle


Melissa Lyttle : “Where They Stood” (USA)

Last fall, Melissa Lyttle began to document the confederate monuments that have been taken down since George Floyd’s death, a moment in time viewed as a turning point when she felt the U.S. was beginning to try and figure out what it was going to become as a nation. Confederate monuments started coming down in record numbers. So, in April 2021, she began a 5-week, 7,300-mile road trip through the South to record an unraveling — that moment in time when long-held narratives about Southern pride and memorialization of Civil War leaders are literally being knocked off their pedestals.

“I am so thankful to the judges for recognizing this work and allowing me the opportunity to continue photographing all of the Confederate monuments that have come down since George Floyd’s death,” Melissa Lyttle said. “For me, this work has always been about the slow dismantling of the celebration of white supremacy while documenting the changing landscape of a country that is reckoning with racism in public spaces. More than anything, I hope the photographs will provoke conversations about how we got here and, more importantly, where we’re headed as a nation.”

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