Chuck Hemard earned his MFA from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA and his BA in Psychology from University of Southern Mississippi. He has held academic appointments at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA and, since 2008, at Auburn University’s Department of Art and Art History where he is currently an Associate Professor. Hemard’s work has been exhibited nationally, including recent one-person shows at the Southeastern Museum of Photography and the Whitney Center for the Arts in Sheridan, WY. His photographs are in public collections throughout the region including the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, GA.
These photographs explore the complexity of human presence alongside notions of wilderness and natural beauty; they consider environmental history and change in a decidedly southern, contemporary landscape. I am interested in how sense of place relates to time and culture. Photography is well suited to help us consider these multi-layered relationships. I am fascinated with the camera’s ability to translate the world into potential meaning or ask critical questions.
Photographs in The Pines explore relict old-growth longleaf pinelands across the coastal plain of the Southeast United States and fire’s role in the pine forests of the Deep South. This was one of America’s most significant landscapes and ecosystems, with deep ties to the cultural, economic and environmental histories of this region and beyond. These pinelands are a “forest” that is really an extraordinarily biodiverse understory, evolving as a fire-dependent savannah or grassland with a canopy dominated by Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) as a keystone species.
His first monograph, The Pines: Southern Forests was published in 2018 by Daylight Books and is available through his website. www.chuckhemard.com