Center for the Study of the American South—Chapel Hill photographer John Rosenthal, well-known for his early dreamscapes and later luminous portraits and landscapes, has ventured into new territory with his recent body of work. The two dozen large-format color prints on view at the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC-Chapel Hill were taken last year in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward and show, with great tenderness and zero sentimentality, the wrecked fragments of that community. Rosenthal's eye for beauty and sensitivity to light imbue these images—treasured human things overwhelmed by nature—with enormous dignity. (Walker Percy would have loved them.) Inadvertently, Rosenthal has made a record of the last days of a lost world: Most of what he photographed has now been bulldozed. In August, the photographs will travel to the African American Museum in New Orleans, to commemorate the life of the Lower Ninth Ward in a show opening on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
The Center for the Study of the American South is located in the Love House, 410 E. Franklin St. The photographs are hung throughout the building and are available for viewing only on the remaining Thursdays of July, from 2-4:30 p.m. There is no convenient parking; Chapel Hill Transit (www.townofchapelhill.org/index.asp?NID=72) stops nearby. For more information, call 962-5665 or visit www.johnrosenthal.com or www.uncsouth.org. —Kate Dobbs Ariail