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photography

Eliot Dudik has traveled a different road

Imagine a drive that should take 2 hours, turning into a 14 hour escapade, every weekend for the span of one and a half years. That is the basis of the “love story” between Eliot Dudik and Charleston’s lowcountry. This modern day explorer “fell in love with Charleston and jumped on the chance to live there” when he moved from Maryland to attend the College of Charleston as an undergraduate student. “That’s when I devoted my life to photography and decided that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Dudik explained. The dedicated photographer became inspired by the back roads he passed during the trip from his Charleston apartment to his graduate classes at the Savannah College of Art and Design along highway U.S. Route 17. With his large format view camera in tow, his agenda became to “pick a different back road I hadn’t been on. Explore the roads and see what I came across and who I met.” In a 10 to 12 hour period, Dudik may capture, at most, 20 shots since the large format camera is such a slow process, not that taking the extra time “exploring and driving around” bothered the lowcountry lover. His adventures turned into his first monograph, which he fittingly named “ROAD ENDS IN WATER.” This series showcases the landscape, rivers, people, and architecture that Dudik was captured by and his goal is for the photographs to capture the audience in the same way. “The idea of cultures that are nestled in the woods and marshes being destroyed by commerce and transportation really scared me and evolved into this project. This is a love story about the area and an opportunity for recognition and preservation of the lifestyle there now. The portraits stare back at the viewer in order to force an interaction and conversation, and attempt to extinguish any chance of disregard.” said Dudik passionately. The shots lure the viewer into Snuffy’s House, filled with taxidermy deer heads, the deep woods for the A.B.A.T.E. Biker Rally, Antioch Baptist Church to see the lone Thelma on Valentine’s Day, and into the Sacred Space off of Muckenfus Road. Bud,

Cam & Hayden, Jimmy Mac, Anthony, Betty, Wimpy, and Buddy Baily are just a few more of the faces and lifestyles you will get to know along the way. “I am still in contact with some of the people I photographed and I return to exchange photographs and books with the folks who worked with me,” recalled the photographer about his connection to the people in his series. Dudik graduated in 2010 with his Masters of Fine Art in photography. Before graduation, he assembled the series of photographs into a photo book. The book and the photographs themselves will be the featured show at Art + Cayce Gallery on September 9 at 6pm running through October 9. Recently, Dudik became an adjunct professor in the photo department at the University of South Carolina. “Teaching is my

main focus, but I am in the beginning stages of a couple new projects, and am still very much invested in this body of work,” said Dudik. To check out Dudik’s work and maybe purchase a piece of your own lowcountry experience, visit his website at www.eliotdudik.com.

story: erin emory

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