Tamara Reynolds is an American photographer
“Exposures” brings new artists to the Nearest Truth audience from our subscriber base. These artists have supported NT through their economic contributions and are gifted individuals working in the medium of photography. Oftentimes, our supporters are well-known and have been working in the field consistently. We simply want to say thank you and help in any way possible to get their message out. I appreciate the support of these individuals and I hope in this small effort that I can repay the support.
This episode was just incredible to record. Not knowing Tamara, but having looked at her work several times both before and after she become a supporter, I was taken aback by her in-depth and concerned eye on America. I was happy to hear her book The Drake was just about to be published at the time of recording this episode. Tamara is one of a kind. Her unerring eye focuses on a very difficult subject matter in her work. She is unafraid and unashamed to capture a piece of America that is overlooked and undersupported. Oftentimes, these images can be quite brutal to observe, but this is the point. Tamara is no stranger to the difficulties associated with abuse, living below the poverty lines, and living in the South which we spoke about at length.
The Drake is a complicated book full of complicated portraits of Tamara’s friends and acquaintances all centered around a small community in Nashville, Tennessee. Rampant drug use and poverty are key concerns within the work. In many ways, I am reminded of Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives but brought forward in an age of opioid abuse and general neglect found in America. Whereas other books have re-examined America’s role over the past decade as a world superpower on the decline, it is certain projects like Tamara’s and Justin Kimball’s Elegy that get under the skin and really scratch the nerve of the difficult realities that face America and Americans in the 21st Century from Fentanyl death to rampant homelessness.
In speaking with Tamara, I came across a wonderful individual whose own experiences with personal difficulties can be mirrored in her work. Tamara was super open and honest about The Drake and her way of seeing the subjects within. We spoke at length about her former career and her education at the Hartford School in Connecticut. We spoke about the process of making this work and how she sees the documentary tradition of photography in the present moment. It was a deep and touching conversation and I think of Tamara as a bright light in a sea of otherwise dark territory, someone aiming to relate to America and to those affected by the difficulties traversing the lay of the land. Please tune into this episode.