Photographer Laureate 2009 - Barbara Jo Revelle

The Big Picture Vol. VII
Barbara Jo Revelle - Tampa's Seventh Photographer Laureate
Video: "How's It Going These Days?"

"Along with making photographs - usually of people in groups in a "decisive moment" or "street-shooting" vérité style - when I found anyone willing to talk to me and let me make an audio recording, I asked the deceptively simple question: "How is it going with you these days?" I was very often astonished by the mix of street-savvy, earnestness, unconventional wisdom, crack-pot ideas and wonderful stories. What I found in my wanderings, for example in the streets of Ybor City at night, at Gasparilla's parades, at Dragon Boat Festival, Bucs games, Tampa Yankee games, swim meets, and at impromptu sports contests between teenagers in front of neighbor churches, was that people in Tampa are generally resilient and resourceful. Some were out of work and living hardscrabble lives, but I found very little evidence of broken spirits. Instead I saw and heard about a willingness to face whatever crisis comes along. I witnessed people with a great capacity to have fun, to be wild, silly, and to seek out places not part of the ordinary troubled world. I saw, in the many kinds of events and community gatherings I photographed and taped, something collective and oppositional going on, and a will to act free even as some of our freedoms are being chipped away. Tampa citizens seemed unusually open to letting me photograph them having a good times, and, although the responses to my questions varied greatly, if I had to isolate a common denominator it would be people's willingness to share with me philosophies and strategies for getting through the recession intact."

-- Barbara Jo Revelle


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