Dylan Yarbrough

Dylan Yarbrough (b. 1991) is an emerging contemporary photographer based in Little Rock, Arkansas. He discovered his passion for photography as a BFA student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Currently, Dylan is a prospective graduate and seeking an MFA. As a young photographer, his work investigates the relationship between his identity and the American South. He recently co-hosted a group show called No-Type at the Historic Arkansas Museum.

A Southern Myth

Many southerners have a deeply rooted pride in their identity. An identity shaped by their family, home, traditions, spirituality, and history. It’s difficult for me to share this pride. Most often I feel misunderstood, stigmatized, longing for change, lonesome, and haunted. I think these same feelings are also characteristics that represent the South in a rapidly changing cultural landscape. A Southern Myth is a contemporary photography series that explores the relationship between identity and place. In other words, these images are the tropes of a young, lonely, middle-class white man searching for meaning in the American South.

“Myth” is used as a poetic device to narrate a struggle for both the artist and the region to maintain a sense of identity. Sometimes the role of myth is literal and symbolizes cultural stereotypes or southern spirituality. Many of the images in this series are enigmatic. I frame the context of the image to leave the viewer with more questions than truths. The first impression may not read this way, but the intended tone of this series is optimistic. The subject matter may be bleak or critical, but there is an underlying message of hope.

These images are important to me personally, but they also fulfill the role of art in contemporary society. A simple photograph can challenge the viewer’s perceptions of cultural practices. A Southern Myth proposes questions and ideas that relate to a broader discussion of identity in the world while encouraging the viewer to compare their interpretations of the work to their reality.

To view more of Dylan’s work please visit his website.