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Atlanta-focused speaker series launches with photographer Chip Simone

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Atlanta-based urban photographer Chip Simone is the first guest in the "Atlanta Intersections" speaker series at Emory University's Robert W. Woodruff Library on Tuesday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Jones Room.

Simone will be in conversation with Randy Gue, curator of Modern Political and Historical collections at Emory's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL), who is directing the series. The conversation, free and open to the public, is entitled "Photography: The Beautiful Lie."

Atlanta Intersections will feature conversations with creative and dynamic Atlantans about the city's past, present and future. The interdisciplinary series will draw a wide variety of participants — activists, artists, authors, foodies, historians, musicians, scholars, preservationists and urbanists — to talk about their work, their experiences of the city, and the influence of Atlanta on their work.

"Emory is a great venue for these conversations," Gue says. "One of MARBL's strengths is its collections that document the history, culture, politics and arts of Atlanta, so we're excited to launch this series of dialogues."

About Chip Simone

A resident of Atlanta for more than 40 years, Simone was a founding member of NEXUS, Atlanta's first photography gallery, in 1973. Originally from Worcester, Mass., Simone studied at the Rhode Island School of Design with modern American photography master Harry Callahan and first exhibited his work in 1966.

Simone's photos are included in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art, the High Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and in the Sir Elton John Photography Collection.

"Chip is the perfect person to kick off the new series," Gue says. "He's a terrific photographer, he's deeply thoughtful and articulate about his craft, and he's a longtime member of the Atlanta arts community. It's going to be a thought-provoking and fascinating conversation."

At the time Simone moved to Atlanta from Manhattan in 1972, many photographers were fixated on the rural, rusting-pickup-truck-in-a-field-of-kudzu South or depictions of the antebellum South. Simone, though, was drawn to a newer South – urban Atlanta.

"Atlanta was struggling to redefine itself, and I was more intrigued by the nature of it as a growing and transforming American city," Simone says. "I was more interested in discovering what was not known about Atlanta and experiencing it than in reinforcing that conventional lore. Over time, my work has evolved into a more personal and intimate view of the city and its people."

Simone has published two books of his photography: "Chroma: Photographs by Chip Simone" (2011), which coincided with the exhibition of his photographs at Atlanta's High Museum Art, and "On Common Ground: Photographs from the Crossroads of the New South" (1996), which features a variety of people using Piedmont Park.

"Both of these books explore Atlanta visually and thematically, although they do it in different ways," says Gue. "Chip brings an artist's and a poet's eye to life in the city. His vibrant and bold photographs force us to examine the environment and the people around us in new ways."

The Robert W. Woodruff Library is located at 540 Asbury Circle in Atlanta, 30322. Parking is available in the Fishburne deck.

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