To Kill a Mockingbird
by Hai Zhang
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To Kill a Mockingbird is an in-progress photography project undertaken in southern Alabama and northwestern Florida by photographer Hai Zhang. The project "investigates and examines the individual’s value against the changing social landscape." Hai describes the project:
In Harper Lee’s masterpiece To Kill A Mockingbird, Southern Alabama lived in infinity of stillness. However, the events affecting Scout, her family, and her community during one significant summer undermined the apparent settled fates of everyone in her world.
Nearly eight years ago, I arrived in the US at a small college town, Troy, Alabama. The following six months were spent there. When I returned to Troy several years later, driving through the highways or unpaved county roads in southern Alabama, too many once-familiar landscapes drifted before my eyes. The trip triggered this project.
The world changes quickly and constantly, but less so in the Deep South. Ubiquitous roadside signs lead the traffic to little churches, cotton farms turn to global Japanese automobile factories; on a single college recruiting webpage, churchgoer plays are one of main factors attempting to attract the local high school graduates, the proven multicultural atmosphere invites more and more students from Asia and Africa. How does the individual stand in this whirling circumstance?
The mansions and the stunning natural sights are enough to remind one of the old time glamor of the South. Sure enough, the trashed backyards and the empty lot baked under the sun in the mobile house complex make the old scars unforgettable. The controversy may be confusing, because for certain people the Deep South no longer falls into any set stereotypes; it assures it is moving forward on its own route.