Northern Essex Presents William Short’s ‘My Red America’ Photography Online

One photograph from Los Angeles Photographer William Short’s “My Red America.” (Courtesy photograph.)

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Northern Essex Community College’s Linda Hummel-Shea ArtSpace is currently featuring Los Angeles Photographer William Short’s “My Red America” online.

For the exhibit, Short travels back to rural Southwestern Ohio, a very special place from his childhood, almost 30 years after he had last been there. Once “magical, safe places,” he finds a different scene when he returns. “Both Winchester and West Union are shells of what they were when I was a child,” he explains. “Unemployment, poverty and drugs have taken over. Storefronts are empty. Buildings and homes lie in disrepair.”

The exhibit website features an interview between the photographer and Marc Mannheimer, Northern Essex art professor and ArtSpace Gallery director. The two have known each other since the 1980s.

“From the beginning of my awareness of Bill’s work I was drawn into the simple yet complex nature of it,” says Mannheimer.  His photographs always seem to capture the initial surface of a “scene” but as one gazes, you are brought into the true depth of his vision.”

A Vietnam combat veteran and anti-war resister, Short is a co-author, with Willa Seidenberg, of “A Matter of Conscience: GI Resistance During the Vietnam War.”

The online exhibit with more than 40 photographs chronicles the changes that have occurred, capturing homes in various stages of repair, run-down local businesses, rural highways and relics from the area’s rich farming tradition. The exhibit is available here through Feb. 27.

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