New Orleans Photo Alliance Presents:
Malcolm Lightner: Mile O' Mud
March 5, 2016 - May 29, 2106
Opening March 5, 6:30 - 9 pm, NOPA Gallery
The New Orleans Photo Alliance (NOPA), is proud to be the first venue to present the Mile O’ Mud in conjunction with the release Malcolm LIghtner's first monograph, Mile O' Mud: The Culture of Swamp Buggy Racing published by powerHouse Books. The exhibition runs from March 5th to May 29th with an opening on March 5th from 6:30 to 9:00pm at the NOPA gallery in the lower garden district.
Churning the buttery muddy water at the Florida Sports Park, swamp buggy races keep Florida's frontier heritage alive. With Mile O’ Mud, fourth generation, native Floridian Malcolm Lightner, shows us his home's beauty; scarred and raw, surrounded by lush blue sky and restorative greens and we witness a community unapologetically celebrating their colorful and unique history, full of wild abandon and enjoying every minute of it.
Malcolm Lightner grew up down the street from the original "Mile O' Mud" swamp buggy track off of Radio Road in Naples Florida. Where his Great-uncle, R.L. helped to formalize the race into a legitimate sporting event. A bastard child to NASCAR, the custom buggies (part boat, part dragster) tear through terrain more like the lake in the center of Daytona International Speedway than the track surrounding it. Fans pile meat in baking pans and cans of Budweiser in boxes and stack themselves in bleachers, truck beds, and on top of home-made platforms to cheer for the Swamp Buggy Queen and pray for drivers' quick recoveries when the track proves too treacherous.
After moving to New York in 1999, he returned at least once a year from 2002 to 2013 to document the races--missing only 2005 due to a hurricane forced cancellation. Of the the project Malcolm says:
I came to understand Swamp Buggy Racing as a metaphor for life’s daily struggles and the innate drive to overcome obstacles against great odds while trying to maintain a sense of humor and grace. The races demonstrated to me the All-American desire to compete to win as well as the power of family and community.
Additional programming will be added during the run of the exhibition.
MALCOLM LIGHTNER is a photographer who works and resides in New York. Born in 1969 in Naples, Florida, he is a fourth generation native Floridian. Malcolm has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants and his work has been featured in a range of exhibitions including Art + Commerce Emerging Photographers and NYPH (New York Photo Festival). Malcolm's photography is included in the permanent photography collections at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida. His work has appeared in Dear Dave, The Oxford American, VICE, Aint-Bad and Life among other publications. Malcolm is a member of the photography faculty at the School of Visual Arts in New York City since 2002.
About The New Orleans Photo Alliance
The New Orleans Photo Alliance (NOPA (www.neworleansphotoalliance.org) is comprised of a diverse group of photographers who joined forces in 2006 to create unity and opportunity for photographers in the Gulf South. It is a volunteer run 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which currently includes more than 300 members from across Louisiana and the United States. Since its inception, the New Orleans Photo Alliance has sponsored numerous photographic exhibitions, workshops, and educational programs including PhotoNOLA, the annual photography festival in New Orleans. NOPA administers two $5000 annual awards, The Michael P. Smith Fund For Documentary Photography and the Clarence John Laughlin Award.