Elijah Barrett is an artist and filmmaker based in Austin, TX. He graduated in 2009 with a BA in Art (concentration in photography) from Yale University and spent several years directing short documentary films about contemporary artists while working in advertising and commercial film. He is interested in how the documentary mode of photography slips between the literal and the ambiguous, creating new meanings out of sequences of simple, seemingly unrelated, images. He photographs broadly without a specific theme or focus in mind, occasionally pausing to pursue a subject in more depth—as in his recent project, Rockport. He is currently preparing for two solo exhibitions of this work at galleries in San Angelo and Killeen, TX.
Rockport is an account of the weeks and months after Hurricane Harvey swept through the community of Rockport, Texas and the surrounding area in 2017. On the surface, this group of photographs takes the form of a conventional photo essay, but preserves what might otherwise be considered outtakes or rejects—generating a retelling that is interpretive and diaristic as much as it is documentary. The photographs explore seeing and perceiving disaster, both the impulse to shield one’s eyes from what is overwhelming, and the strain to see hard realities more clearly.
Rockport is a starting point for us to consider our responsibilities to coastal communities as hurricanes become more frequent and severe, as well as a quiet testament to the unique and still alluring shimmer of the Gulf Coast.
To view more of Elijah’s work please visit his website.