Terri Garland is an artist who specializes in photographing the social and cultural fabric of the American South. While not limiting herself to any particular genre,she finds that her most enduring projects have fit solidly into the documentary tradition.
She received her BFA from the Art Institute in 1987 and her MFA in 1990. She teaches photography at San Jose City College.
As a graduate student at the Art Institute, Garland began an examination of white Supremacist culture that has spanned over two decades, photographing individuals within the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, American Nazi Party and the Christian Identity Movement.
Since 2005, she has divided her time between Louisiana and Mississippi. Her current project, Louisiana, Purchased, is a visual study of the ways in which we depend upon and demand, continuous supplies of fossil fuels and the resultant damage and ongoing destruction to coastal communities in Louisiana.
Her photographs are included in the collections of The Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, The Art Institute of Chicago, The di Rosa Preserve in Napa, California, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Saint Elizabeth College in Morristown, New Jersey, the Bibliotech Nationale, Paris, France and Special Collections at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Among her awards are a WESTAF/NEA Fellowship, Silicon Valley Arts Council Grant and a Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship.
What did the Fellowship or Laureate mean to you at the time you received it?
It was a validation of many years of work. The prize allowed me to purchase a large-format printer and I have printed digitally ever since.
What do you do now? Has your art evolved or changed?
I am still photographing in the South; my focus has changed from documenting overt signs of racism to investigating how greed from industry damages minority communities. I launched a Hatchfund.org crowd-sourcing campaign to finance my first feature-length documentary, Louisiana, Purchased. Actor Wendell Pierce has agreed to narrate.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an emerging artist?
Seek feedback, be connected with social media, consider advice but remain true to your vision, however unpopular it may be.
Briefly, how would you describe the state of the arts locally, as well as national and beyond?
vibrant, enduring, challenging