Brandon Thibodeaux is a member of the New York-based photography collective MJR. His career in photography began at a small daily newspaper in southeast Texas while studying photography at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX, under Keith Carter.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Photojournalism from the University of North Texas with a specialization in International Development. He currently resides in Dallas, TX, where he works for clients like Shell Oil International, Smithsonian Magazine, Mother Jones, Monocle, FT Weekend Magazine, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, among others, and is also a guest instructor with the Maine Media Workshops.
His work in the Mississippi Delta entitled When Morning Comes has been recognized by American Photo Magazine, PDN, New York Times Lens Blog, Time.com, and is internationally exhibited in galleries and museums.
In 2009 he joined the ranks of the Getty Reportage Emerging Talent. In 2012 The Oxford American listed him as being one of their 100 Under 100 New Superstars of Southern Art, and in 2013 his work in the Mississippi Delta was award the Critical Mass Top 50 Solo Show Award. He is the 2014 Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography recipient and 2016 Palm Springs Portfolio Review Prize winner.
About ‘That Land of Perfect Day’
That Land of Perfect Day is a reflection of life in the Mississippi Delta. It is a testament to the dignity and grace of those souls carrying the backbreaking legacy of the Delta’s rural communities as they strive to pave their own course through history.
I first traveled to the region in the summer of 2009 because I needed to breathe after my own troubled times. I was in search of something stronger than myself and attended its churches not to photograph but to cry and to be redeemed. I was there to listen as I prayed for a revelation.
I now photograph in five communities that span roughly 15 square miles of the northern Mississippi Delta. Towns with names like Alligator, and Bo Bo, as well as the country’s oldest completely African American city, Mound Bayou, where in 1910, a New York Times headline once declared, “no white man can own a square foot of land.”
Over the past four years I have witnessed signs of strength against struggle, humility amidst pride, and a promise for deliverance in the lives that I have come to know.
This is a land stigmatized by poverty beneath a long shadow of racism. I do not wish to overlook this fact but rather look between it for evidence of the tender and yet unwavering human spirit that resides within its fabric.
I feel it in the fertile fields where memories of the blood and sweat of generations stir amidst the roar of combines. I hear it issued from lips in lessons of divinity. I see it in their eyes.
In what began as a journey for personal exploration is found a narrative of another man’s faith, identity, and perseverance. I see the strength of a single man while acknowledging the machine that replaced thousands, the flight of childhood innocence grounded by the scar of life hard lived, a living room tribute to a symbolic president and a toppled white king in a conquered game of chess.
While this work makes specific reference to the rural black experience, I am reminded with every visit that these themes of faith, identity, and perseverance are common to us all. These are the traits of strong men. And maybe that is the lesson that I was looking for all along.