Longtime collaborators, Antone and Lara currently live at nearly opposite ends of the United States (Nevada and Michigan), but their point for making this work meets in the middle, at the physiographic intersection of four heartland states. Together they have documented Ozark people and landscape over a period of almost 10 years, drawn first by a desire to reconnect with their past, then compelled to relate something of the character and rituals of an area where locals can become skittish around strangers. Their photographic interests encompass culture, identity, folklore and mythology of place—but forming a clear picture of this isolated place is complicated.
“Ozarkers always have been somewhat dualistic, believing that two great forces—one good and one evil—battle for control in each person.” – Stanley Burgess
The roots of Ozark folklore were formed by 19th century pioneer settlers from Scotland, Ireland, Britain and Germany. From early on they had a penchant for sharing jokes and colorfully embellished stories within their community, passing down superstitions and lore to younger generations. The locals’ jubilant gatherings also involved square dancing to their self-proclaimed “hillbilly” country songs.
Meanwhile, religion is central to social life in the Ozarks, having strongly shaped the area over more than two centuries. Evangelical and Fundamentalist organizations have long held world headquarters there, and Mennonites and Amish have formed substantial settlements. The locals are generally proud of their rural values and individualistic, traditional approach to life.
With Devil’s Promenade, the photographers take us along their journey into the thick woods where anything might happen; you may either bathe in the light of salvation, or come face-to-face with the Devil on a bridge, in the inky dark.
Design by Tiffany Jones
Reviews + Press
“Holding the book feels like you’re in possession of something magical. In many ways, you are… The people and scenes feel familiar somehow, their worldview emanating a subliminal, relatable atmosphere, prompting self-reflection rather than pitiful distancing. Devil’s Promenade is at once about the Ozarks and ourselves as human beings, alluding to the ways we’ve hidden stories away, deeming them illegitimate, only to make them more susceptible to misunderstanding and misinterpretation.” – Cat Lachowskyj, British Journal of Photography
“Shipley and Dolezal move beyond the limits of traditional documentary photography, and create images that more readily suggest multiple layers of meaning. Moving between description and invention, they present a complex, perceptive, and compassionate picture of a place and its people isolated from mainstream culture.” – April Watson, Photography curator at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City
This will surely be a valued book in your collection, from two young and working photographers who promise to continue to produce worthwhile projects and collectible books. – Melanie McWhorter, Grenade in a Jar Books
British Journal of Photography review, “Searching for meaning in folkloric tales”
C4 Journal review, “You and Me and the Devil Makes Three”
El Pais – Babelia review (Spanish)
Yield Magazine Interview
Fisheye Magazine feature, “In the Land of the Devil”
Selected pre-release features
*Urbanautica Institute Annual Awards Winner for Devil’s Promenade series – Anthropology and Territories category
*Photobookstore Recommended Pick, 2021
*Photoeye Curated selection, March 2021
*Bestseller Photoeye Bookstore, January 2021
*Curated selection Fiebre Photobook Festival 2020 – Gabriela Cendoya, Collector
*Curated selection Fiebre Photobook Festival 2020 – Gonzalo Golpe, Editor & Designer
April 15, 6:30pm EST: Artist Talk on Devil’s Promenade with Antone Dolezal & Lara Shipley
Arkansas State University – Delta Symposium XXVI: The Haunted South
August 10, 7pm EST: Artist Talk on The Naked Truth w/ Antone Dolezal & Lara Shipley
Society for Photographic Education Conference – Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections & Memoria
Advance pre-order launch during Polycopies 2020, 11-15 November