Alex Leme’s Small Town: Portraits of a Disappearing America

In support of this year’s New Works Photography Fellowship Award Exhibition and to share the work of this year’s photographers with the online community, En Foco partners with juror and creator Andy Adams to highlight their work in a series of  blog posts. For more information, preview the exhibition catalog. Part 2 of 5.


Hay Field, Small Town series, 2009 © Alex Leme

American farming communities have been in decline for decades and small towns are frequently home to conversations about lost jobs, failed business and depopulation. Fellowship winner Alex Leme explores the fate of rural America in Small Town: Portraits of a Disappearing America, a collection of photographs that document the remains of this vanishing way of life. Arkansas is the first leg in Leme’s trek across the country in an effort to photograph rural towns on the verge of collapse—and that have already passed. His journey begins in Cotton Plant, a fading community nestled in the northeastern part of Arkansas. Formerly a thriving region with promises of growth and progress, the area has succumbed to the challenges many towns face at the close of the 20th century. Traditionally, “the country life” conjured images of rustic tranquility. Those days are long gone in Cotton Plant: the town is littered with gutted factories, abandoned buildings, and the remnants of a once-thriving population. What will happen to these places? Leme’s pictures don’t suggest a remedy; rather, they memorialize these towns by honoring their past.


Mr. Royce and Mrs. Sourrells, Small Town series, 2010 © Alex Leme


The Parts House, Small Town series, 2010 © Alex Leme


Mrs. King, Small Town series, 2010 © Alex Leme


Red Galaxie, Small Town series, 2010 © Alex Leme

Alex Leme is the recipient of En Foco’s New Works Photography Fellowship Awards, an annual program selecting three or more U.S. based photographers of Latino, African or Asian heritage, and Native Peoples of the Americas and Pacific, through a national call for entries. The New Works program helps artists to create or complete an in-depth photographic series exploring themes of their choice, and provides the infrastructure needed for national visibility and a professional exhibition of their new work in the New York area. More about him at his En Foco Photographers page and at

Alex’s work is on view as part of New Works #14, at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation’s Skylight Gallery in Brooklyn, through July 1, 2011. Please join us Thursday, April 28, 6-8 pm for the opening reception and Saturday, April 30, 2-4 pm for the artist talk.

Andy Adams is the founder and editor of, a contemporary photography website that celebrates the culture of image-making by promoting the discovery of artists from around the world. An online art space + photography publication, the site provides opportunities for a global community of artists and photo organizations to share new series work, book projects, and gallery exhibitions with a web-based photography audience. More about him at

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