Arts

A Photographer’s Love of the Lowcountry

Working solely in black and white film and primarily photographing the Lowcountry, Jack Leigh, who died in 2004, was known for his moody, evocative glimpses of the South he knew—shrimpers hauling in nets, oak tree limbs reflecting in water, fresh melons for sale at a roadside stand. More than thirty of the Savannah native’s pictures are now on display in a new exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, The Spirit of the Place: Photographs by Jack Leigh, which runs through June 11.

The exhibition includes some of Leigh’s most recognizable shots, such as his haunting capture of the “Bird Girl” statue in Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery, which was used on the cover of John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. More of Leigh’s work can also be seen at Laney Contemporary Fine Art in Savannah, which manages his estate.

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Oak Limb Reflection, 2002.

“He cannot raise his camera without telling me about a South I never knew was there,” the novelist Pat Conroy once wrote about his friend Jack Leigh. “I feel as though I am seeing my native land for the first time when I study Jack’s uncanny yet perfectly composed and cunning images.”

photo: Jack Leigh; Promised Gift to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Nets & Doors, 1986.

photo: Jack Leigh; Promised Gift to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Ossabaw Creature, 2001.

photo: Jack Leigh; Promised Gift to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Oysterman at Night, 1981.

photo: Jack Leigh; High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Savannah Saw Works, 1977.

photo: Jack Leigh; High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Midnight, 1993.

photo: Jack Leigh; High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Peaches, 1981.

photo: Jack Leigh; Courtesy Laney Contemporary Fine Art, Savannah

Checker Players, 1977.

photo: Jack Leigh; Courtesy Laney Contemporary Fine Art, Savannah

Drive-In Movie Screen, 1983.

photo: Jack Leigh; Courtesy Laney Contemporary Fine Art, Savannah

Mr. Hazel and Buster, 1976.

photo: Jack Leigh; Courtesy Laney Contemporary Fine Art, Savannah

Cold Mellons, 1970.

photo: Jack Leigh; Courtesy Laney Contemporary Fine Art, Savannah