One, One Thousand | Southern Photography


by S. Gayle Stevens

Go back to the photographs

Project statement:

In this series I recorded the ruins that once were the town of Pass Christian, Mississippi, an artist community on the gulf devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Pass: (v) to go away, die, to go from one state to another. On the morning of August 29, 2005 Pass Christian, a community on the Mississippi gulf coast, lost all but 500 of its 8000 homes when Katrina's storm surge topped the high water mark at over 30 feet and drove destruction more than half a mile inland. A once thriving artist community lay in ruins. Many residents have chosen not to return but their memories of Pass Christian remain the essence of this place. As time passes, blackberry vines creep over the remaining foundations; nature, like a shroud slowly covers Pass Christian. Over the past two years, I have returned repeatedly to photograph. To me, the loss of community is the most devastating aspect of this natural disaster.

For this project I have chosen to create my images with a medium format pinhole camera using wet plate collodion, a process that dates from the time of the city's founding. The plates are small size and intimate. Pinhole and wet plate, when used in tandem, create a surreal world of depth and mystery. Wet plate captures the mystery the way dreams reveal what daylight hides.


Bio and contact:

S. Gayle Stevens has worked in antiquarian processes for over fifteen years. Her chosen medium is wet plate collodion for its fluidity and individuality. Stevens current project, calligraphy, is a series of wet plate tintype photogenic drawings. Plant and animal images populate her chimeric visions. She exhibits extensively across the United States. Ms. Stevens received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. Stevens, named one of the Critical Mass Top Fifty Photographers for 2010, has been featured in Fraction, Square, Shots, Diffusion and Fuzion magazines. She divides her time shooting in Downers Grove, Illinois, where she resides, and Pass Christian, Mississippi. Stevens is represented by Tilt Gallery.


S. Gayle Stevens is a Downers Grove, IL, based photographer.
To view more of her work, please visit her website:
You can also contact her by e-mail: