Before she became a famous author, Eudora Welty worked as a junior public relations officer for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression, and she interviewed people of all social and economic classes throughout her home state of Mississippi. In her spare time she also photographed these people, capturing daily life amid difficult economic times.
A collection of Welty’s photographs from the 1930s and 40s is currently on display at the main branch of the Nashville Public Library through November 2. The exhibit is free.
Smithsonian magazine had a good article on the photography of Eudora Welty in its June 2009 edition:
Eudora Welty was one of the grandest grande dames of American letters—winner of a Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, an armful of O. Henry Awards and the Medal of Freedom, to name just a few. But before she published a single one of her many short stories, she had a one-woman show of her photographs. The pictures, made in Mississippi in the early to mid-1930s, show the rural poor and convey the want and worry of the Great Depression. But more than that, they show the photographer’s wide-ranging curiosity and unstinting empathy—which would mark her work as a writer, too.
Worth seeing, for sure.