Down Home

By Bob Adelman
with text edited by Susan Hall

pictures from the book Down Home

DOWN HOME is a social portrait of rural Wilcox County, and particularly it’s county seat, Camden, which is 45 miles south of Selma and 70 miles southwest of Montgomery in the heart of black-belt Alabama. The photographs were taken over a five year period. The text is in the residents’ own words.
  As I photographed the people in the book, I tried to render them as vividly and precisely as possible. Now they seem like characters caught in a dream – part pleasurable fantasy of revered traditions, ante-bellum homes and plantations; and part the nightmare of racism and poverty ( in 1960, Wilcox was one of the ten poorest counties in the nation). At the insistence of the machine and demands for equality, the dream begins to dissolve.          – Bob Adelman

“DOWN HOME is a brilliant study of a poor, racially mixed Alabama County”

“…a chiaroscuro portrait of one ebony-and-ivory town that could stand as a symbol of the whole changing South. Strong personal journalism…the best”

“…some of the finest portraits in contemporary photography”
                                                                                       -The New York Times Book Review

“…it is  to the credit of Adelman and Hall that what might be called ‘the wit and wisdom of Wilcox County’ is explored with scrupulous fairness.”
                                                                                        -Village Voice

“Adelman has moved beyond the familiar cliches of most documentary photography into that rare sphere wherein technical ability and social vision combine to create a work of art.”
                                                                                         -Ralph Ellison

“DOWN HOME is honest, because it is in our own words. It’s fair ‘cause everyone has their say. We wish it had all been in sunshine, but we can’t deny the shadows.”
                                                                                          – A local resident