Southern Comfort Moments
The first time I walked into Southern Comfort was also the first time I saw an exotic dancer perform. I also vaguely remember a birthday where I received a bottle of beer capped with a candle while standing on a table and having the bar sing to me... You never know what's going to happen there and that's one of the reasons I decided to do a photo project on the restaurant and lounge. The place and people were just too good to pass up.
Recently the project was featured on Slate's Behold blog and then Dailymail which was very flattering and it seemed to get a lot of attention. Some of the comments were, mildly put, unkind to the subjects and I'd like to address snap judgements here. These are three portraits of people that made me change a preconceived notion I had on them or the bar.
How the staff cares for Mr Tommy is the best example of family I've seen in awhile. The bottle exchange allows him to feel normal and hang out like he always has while the staff protectively watch over him. When you see Angel she exudes a toughness and I will openly admit I was intimidated by her. After sitting down with her for half an hour my mouth was agape and my eyes rimmed with tears. Angel has seen more death in her life than her heavenly namesakes. She has acquired a tough shell from these life events but her eyes remain soft and kind. Daryl showed me his injury unsolicited. He laughed as I cringed at the lack of protection his chest now provides his heart. I feel like this is Daryl's party trick and it works! I was drawn in like a moth to the flame.
I can't give you the full experience of being there with these folks but look these images over and make your mind up about them, THEN read the caption.
The other reason I did this project was because I wanted to know more about who these people are. Isn't that what we are all after? Someone to be interested in us?
A big thank you to Behold, David Rosenberg and the DailyMail for being interested.
Kaylinn Gilstrap © 2013