Forgotten Salem, Digital Print
I’ve always been interested in history. The history of a place, of a people, of whatever was around me. The everyday stories are what fascinate me in particular. I grew up with many of my grandparents and they were all gifted craftsmen and craftswomen in their own right. I would ask how they started making baskets or who taught them to quilt, and I would sit and listen to them spin tales of their youth while their hands created something from nothing right in front of me. I grew up emulating them by learning to sew and helping to stain furniture, and I began my own journey with craft and art by painting and drawing many of those stories and activities. I found photography in high school and learned many of my early lessons about light and film from my grandfather, who had studied photography in the Air Force.
My work as an adult is still a continuation of my childhood thirst to learn all the stories and knowledge that my brain can absorb. It can be an amazing experience what you can learn and the relationships you can build with a simple question. For several years now, I’ve been collecting pictures and stories from the areas of Mississippi I grew up in–and now the area I’ve called home since I married. I’ve recorded schools, churches, houses, little known monuments, and hopefully the simple character of the people and areas I love. As long as I’m evoking a memory, emotion or simple curiosity with my photography and writing, I call that success.
A cattle farm in northeast Mississippi might not seem to be the place to find a young artist but with encouragement from her parents and grandparents and the gift of a 1950s Petri Penta 35mm camera, a lifelong passion for photography was found. Lana Pugh then earned her BFA with an emphasis in photography in 2005. She has participated in juried and invitational exhibitions in Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas, and was most recently accepted into the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s 20th Anniversary Juried Exhibition. She shares her art and writing on her website, www.lanalpugh.com.