To be black is the greatest fiction of my life. Yet I’m still bound to its myth. I can’t help but think about the myth’s childhood and its backyard of the South. How the myth of blackness aged into fact and grew into laws. How it evolved from there to become tacit, and join the secret order of things. How it became the dark matter of the American imagination.

I’ve lived, worked and photographed in Hale County for nearly 12 years. Sometimes, there, I feel like I have no race. And if the light was right, no one else did either. Still the myth of blackness is entangled at the root of the South’s mythology — a mythology upheld in textbooks, institutions, media and film and literature. And photography is implicated.

Antonio, 2012 Told on the mountain, 2013 Open, 2013 Dream catcher, 2014 Ron, 2013 Here, 2012

RaMell Ross’s work appears in “But Still, It Turns”, edited by Paul Graham (Mack, £50) and in an exhibition of the same name that runs at the International Center of Photography (ICP), 79 Essex Street, New York, until May 9; icp.org

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