New Johnson Center exhibit opens

Published 7:37 pm Wednesday, August 4, 2010

“Looking Through the Lens: 100 Years of Photographs” is, to date, one of the most highly anticipated exhibitions at the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy.

The historical photographs present scenes and subjects of rural South Alabama that span most of the 20th century.

“Looking Through the Lens” features the work of two local photographers Holman Johnson of Troy and D.L. Hightower of Clayton,” said Richard Metzger, Johnson Center executive director. “Both men documented everyday life and, by doing, so preserved a panoramic view of a rapidly changing and disappearing agrarian society.”

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Because the photographs were all taken in the Troy/Pike County and Clayton/Barbour County areas the exhibition is generating a lot of interest.

“This exhibition has great historical significance for most everyone,” Metzger said. “Many people will remember the places and some of the people.

“Others will have a glimpse of how things used to be.”

Metzger said the exhibition is also interactive.

Some of the people and places in the photographs have not been identified and the public’s assistance is being invited.

“We are very excited about the “Looking Through the Lens” exhibition because it brings into focus the works of two outstanding photographers,” Metzger said. “Sixty photographs have been selected from each photographer.”

Holman Johnson (1910-1990) was born on a farm in Dale County.

As young man, he worked for the Jitney Jungle in Troy. In 944, he was drafted into the Navy where he was a photographer. In 1946, he opened a photography business in Troy.

The exhibition “Pike County and Beyond” features both Johnson’s personal and professional photography.

D.L Hightower (1899-1993) was an amateur photographer whose family owned a Chevrolet dealership in Clayton.

“While Hightower traveled around Barbour and neighboring counties selling cars and trucks, he saw that the world he loved and appreciated was vanishing before his eyes,” Metzger said. “He began to photograph people, places and events he believed future generations would not otherwise know.”

Hightower’s “To Remember a Vanishing World” and Johnson’s “Pike County and Beyond” exhibitions provide a glimpse into the past and challenge visitors to reflect on what makes history.

The “Looking Through the Lens: 100 Years of Photographs” exhibition at the Johnson Center for the Arts, 300 East Walnut Street, Troy will close Nov. 13. Art center hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.