Tamara Reynolds

Tamara Reynolds is a documentary photographer whose unflinching eye considers what it means to be human in today’s society. In particular, her work focuses on the lives of those who are usually unseen. Her goal as a photographer is to be “curious, fearless and compassionate.”

In 2018, Reynolds’ photo series, The Drake, was awarded the prestigious Project Launch Grant from the CENTER organization in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as the 2019 Tennessee Arts Commission Grant. An earlier series, Southern Route, which explores issues of identity, conflict and the disappearing culture of the South, is included in Southbound, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation-supported exhibition curated by Mark Sloan and Mark Long of Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at The College of Charleston. A part of this same series is held in The Do Good Fund Collection.

In 2017, Reynolds received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Hartford International Limited-Residency Program, where she graduated with honors. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Middle Tennessee State University.

Reynolds was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and has lived there all her life.

Exit map

Debo at window

Corner of M’boro Pike and Parris

The Drake 

One Square Block: The Unseen Seen

The Drake photography project is comprised of a series of photographic portraits, still lifes and streetscapes, as well as transcribed recorded conversations, that document the lives of people existing just above survival on one square block around a motel in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s an area southeast of downtown Nashville, ignored by developers, where I discovered a small community of people trapped in poverty and addiction. They live on the periphery of mainstream society, a microcosm of the disregarded. Prostitution, panhandling and day labor have become ways to support drug and alcohol addiction. These are lives too often overlooked.

The Drake offers a means to delve deeply into a world both far removed from my own but also perilously close –– as a former addict, through them I see how my life might have looked had I not found the resources that led me to recovery. I feel a kinship with those under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Although the residents and the neighborhood around the Drake Motel are now far from my advantaged life, I have an understanding of the hurt in the addict’s soul. We have a commonality that excludes class, race and religion. I am compelled to photograph this part of humanity to ensure that those caught in the downward cycle do not go quietly unnoticed. I photograph to “make the unseen seen.” I am fierce in my intent to push back against a society of increasing culturally endorsed behavior to not acknowledge the marginalized. These are not easy pictures to see, but my hope is that the images allow for viewers to move closer, to enter the stillness of the photographs and consider the lives of those looking back.

Every city and every town has its version of The Drake. Perhaps my photographs, which hone in on those at the bottom, those at the furthest margins, those in the shadows and nameless, will pull those suffering from alcohol and drug addiction into focus in our own communities. It is a slippery slope. Who is the other really but us?

Couple on scooter

George and bag

Annie and Uncle George

Becky at white wall

Your Place Cafe at Dusk

Kenneth taking a nap

Couple at chain-link fence

Birds on ground

Amanda in red dress

The Drake at dusk

Nicole in chair

Pat in shade at wall

Annie at window

Your Place Cafe corner at dusk

Kayla asleep

Snow in motel room

The Drake motel at night

To view more of Tamara Reynolds’s work please visit her website.


Details :

8.25″x10.75″, 256 pages,
Perfect Bound
Edition Size 1500
ISBN : 978-1-944005-18-4
Printed in the Netherlands

Introduction by : The Editors

Guest Curators and Interviews by :

Alan Rothschild
Amy Elkins
Anna Skillman
Heavy Collective
Jennifer Murray
Kris Graves
Michael Itkoff
Paloma Shutes
Paul Kopeikin
Rachel Reese
Robert Lyons
Small Talk Collective
Susan Laney
Zemie Barr


Read More!