Without Regard to Sex, Race, or Color:
Photographs by Andrew Feiler
University of Georgia Press
In the spirit of those photographers who have documented the physical decline of our valued institutions—from small family farms to entire cities—Feiler points his lens at one embattled place and dares us to look away. Aiming to “open minds, trigger emotion, stimulate discussion, and, perhaps, prompt action,” his images project a new layer of meaning onto the Morris Brown story. We see classrooms, dorms, gym facilities, and other spaces no longer alive with students, faculty, and staff but rather mired in a state of uncertainty where hopes of normality’s return mutely battle a host of unwelcome alternate futures. We see how time passes without regard for academic years, regular maintenance cycles, or the other comings and goings that would ordinarily call attention to the leaks, invading animals, acts of vandalism, and other forces working to peel the paint from Morris Brown’s walls, buckle its floors, and molder its furnishings. We see garbage piling up alongside sports trophies, scientific equipment, and other vestiges of the prouder past we would rather remember.
Feiler's photographs are accompanied by writings that address the college's profound impact on one family, history and memory, the documentary and narrative powers of photography, and the place of HBCUs in American public life. Images and text combine powerfully to show us what happens when a place meant to be honored is left to its own.
Andrew Feiler’s photographs of the stilled campus of Morris Brown College conjure a haunting story that invites important dialogue on race, progress, and opportunity in America.—Brett Abbott, Keough Family Curator of Photography and head of collections, High Museum of Art
Andrew Feiler’s photographs put into perspective Morris Brown College’s great legacy and history; they give a glimpse of what once was and, more importantly, offer a vision of what can be. The photographs convey a sense of rough edges, of incompleteness, reminding me of an unpolished stone. They inspire me to want to make a difference, and I hope they will motivate others to be a part of our transformation. —Stanley Pritchett, eighteenth president of Morris Brown College
Without Regard manages to be both precisely concerned with one school’s fate, while also reflecting on larger social issues --
Feiler’s photos resonate not just as a report on one troubled institution but as a symbol of the state of HBCUs generally --