For the past few years, artist Mark Steinmetz has photographed in, around, and above Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, through which approximately 100,000,000 passengers, 1,000,000 flights, and 650,000 tons of cargo pass every year. Using the world’s most heavily trafficked airport as his home base, Steinmetz closely considers the activity and interactions that take place at this crossroads of the contemporary South. The exhibition is comprised of over 60 never-before-exhibited photographs.
Steinmetz’s approach is improvisational, and he is particularly masterful at capturing the ordinary-yet-fascinating human dramas that play out in the public spaces throughout the airport. His black-and-white photographs lend a poignant perspective on how this gateway to the wider world is a place of delightful paradoxes: a massive modern complex that sits in the midst of a sublime natural environment, a bustling global transit hub that is the site of solitary individual experiences, and a stifling bureaucratic tangle that is a portal to possibility and opportunity.
Based in Athens, GA, Mark Steinmetz is a leading Southern artist whose lyrical photographs capture the distinctive character of the region’s people and the peculiar beauty of its built environment. Since the 1980s, he has created an exceedingly compelling and quietly poetic image of contemporary American life. Mark Steinmetz: Terminus is the latest chapter in the ongoing Picturing the South project, for which the High Museum commissions artists to create original bodies of work that offer new perspectives on the South’s social and geographical landscapes.