The Striking South: New vivid photos show a different side of lower Alabama from Pine Apple to Pink Bottom with powerful portraits of its people and places (14 Pics)

The image of the dark brown wood-paneled room with the neatly made bed beckons, enticing the viewer to enter.
It belongs to a woman named Pearlie, a longtime resident of Wilcox County in Alabama. The space, she told photographer Andrew Moore, never has been renovated despite her and her late husband living in the house for 50 years.
'That's why they never fixed up that room 'cause I was going to show one day,' Moore told Daily Mail.com. 'That just kind of sent chills down my back.'
While the untouched room may capture days past, Moore's new book, 'Blue Alabama,' is a contemporary photographic examination of the lower part of the state, freed from cliché and steeped in rich hues. 
Photographer Andrew Moore made many trips to lower Alabama to take pictures of its people and places. The images are now part of his new book called 'Blue Alabama.' In his essay for the book, he recalls how one day he happened upon a youth marching band practicing and met the man behind the project, musician Stan 'Chilly' Cooks. Cooks hailed from Union Springs and 'after recovering from a long illness, made good on his promise to God and returned to his birthplace to give music lessons to the children of the city,' Moore wrote. Cooks formed a marching band - Chilly's ICE Cool Band - and Moore told DailyMail.com that there is a code of conduct that the kids have to recite at the beginning and end of their practice. Above, the band practicing on a bright blue day and the eye is drawn to fuchsia of the 'Dream' emblazoned on the leader's shirt and her sweatshirt tied around her waist in an image titled, 'Chilly's ICE Cool Band, Union Springs'
Photographer Andrew Moore made many trips to lower Alabama to take pictures of its people and places. The images are now part of his new book called 'Blue Alabama.' In his essay for the book, he recalls how one day he happened upon a youth marching band practicing and met the man behind the project, musician Stan 'Chilly' Cooks. Cooks hailed from Union Springs and 'after recovering from a long illness, made good on his promise to God and returned to his birthplace to give music lessons to the children of the city,' Moore wrote. Cooks formed a marching band - Chilly's ICE Cool Band - and Moore told DailyMail.com that there is a code of conduct that the kids have to recite at the beginning and end of their practice. Above, the band practicing on a bright blue day and the eye is drawn to fuchsia of the 'Dream' emblazoned on the leader's shirt and her sweatshirt tied around her waist in an image titled, 'Chilly's ICE Cool Band, Union Springs'  
Moore has family ties to the South and after college lived in New Orleans in 1980. A longtime associate suggested in 2012 that he do a portfolio of the region and Moore started exploring parts of Mississippi, the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia. But it wasn't until he had a small exhibition in 2014 that he turned his attention to Alabama - he met Lucy Hicks at the show and she invited him to stay with her. Moore went to Alabama in 2015. Above, Butch Anthony is an artist and Moore's friend. Moore explained that Anthony got some shipping containers and then cut out holes in them, covering the openings with glass. 'You drive through and see all this crazy stuff on the inside,' he said. Above, Anthony stands next to his white Cadillac that he modified by gluing trophies to it in an image titled, 'Butch Anthony at His Drive-Thru Art Museum, Seale'
Moore has family ties to the South and after college lived in New Orleans in 1980. A longtime associate suggested in 2012 that he do a portfolio of the region and Moore started exploring parts of Mississippi, the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia. But it wasn't until he had a small exhibition in 2014 that he turned his attention to Alabama - he met Lucy Hicks at the show and she invited him to stay with her. Moore went to Alabama in 2015. Above, Butch Anthony is an artist and Moore's friend. Moore explained that Anthony got some shipping containers and then cut out holes in them, covering the openings with glass. 'You drive through and see all this crazy stuff on the inside,' he said. Above, Anthony stands next to his white Cadillac that he modified by gluing trophies to it in an image titled, 'Butch Anthony at His Drive-Thru Art Museum, Seale'
Moore told DailyMail.com that he heard about this little hamlet called Pink Bottom and he had to go check it out. He said there was once a man named Pink and while people lived up on the ridges, the crops - corn and the cotton - were grown below on the bottom land, thus the name. 'There was nothing really left in this town,' he said. 'But there was this shop and so we went in and everything was painted purple ¿ the chairs, the tables.' He took the above image, 'Yolanda Walker at The Purple Bowl, Pink Bottom,' that bursts with the bright colors of purple, red and light blue. 'Color is the language of the form itself,' Moore said. 'For me, they're so intertwined because of the emotional resonance and because they just set the tone and the sense of the picture'
Moore told DailyMail.com that he heard about this little hamlet called Pink Bottom and he had to go check it out. He said there was once a man named Pink and while people lived up on the ridges, the crops - corn and the cotton - were grown below on the bottom land, thus the name. 'There was nothing really left in this town,' he said. 'But there was this shop and so we went in and everything was painted purple – the chairs, the tables.' He took the above image, 'Yolanda Walker at The Purple Bowl, Pink Bottom,' that bursts with the bright colors of purple, red and light blue. 'Color is the language of the form itself,' Moore said. 'For me, they're so intertwined because of the emotional resonance and because they just set the tone and the sense of the picture'
The images in his new book, 'Blue Alabama,' speak to one another, Moore said. 'The whole book is very intentionally collected.' For instance, the above image, 'Alvin G. Stone at His Store, Pine Apple,' has a symmetry to the picture of Yolanda Walker at her store, The Purple Bowl, as both owners are proud of their shops. Moore met Stone through Lucy Hicks. 'That's kind of how things worked down there is that I would get introduced from one friend to next,' Moore explained. Stone knew Hick's father and he has run his store for decades. 'The way he presents himself in the picture so proudly, so directly. I love it.' Moore pointed out that Stone, who is probably in his 80s, is sporting pineapples on his shirt and suspenders in a nod to the town's name
The images in his new book, 'Blue Alabama,' speak to one another, Moore said. 'The whole book is very intentionally collected.' For instance, the above image, 'Alvin G. Stone at His Store, Pine Apple,' has a symmetry to the picture of Yolanda Walker at her store, The Purple Bowl, as both owners are proud of their shops. Moore met Stone through Lucy Hicks. 'That's kind of how things worked down there is that I would get introduced from one friend to next,' Moore explained. Stone knew Hick's father and he has run his store for decades. 'The way he presents himself in the picture so proudly, so directly. I love it.' Moore pointed out that Stone, who is probably in his 80s, is sporting pineapples on his shirt and suspenders in a nod to the town's name
'Color is the language of the form itself,' he said. 'For me, they're so intertwined because of the emotional resonance and because they just set the tone and the sense of the picture.' 
For example, in an image titled, 'Blue Sweep, Dallas County,' a lone trailer sits at the edge of a dark forest in front of a brushed dirt yard.
'That's the legacy of the way people kept their yards in Africa basically,' Moore explained. 'They would sweep all around the house to keep away flies and snakes and bugs. So that tradition was bought by African slaves to the South and was adopted.'
The image's composition draws the viewer's eye, especially to the deep red of a piece of cloth hung in the trailer's window, but it is the blue light of the sky that captivates.
'You don't know if it's day or nighttime,' he said, adding it is like Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte's series 'The Empire of Light.' 'I ended up calling that picture, "Blue Sweep," because of the light and the color.'
The photograph partially inspired the book's title, 'Blue Alabama,' which Moore said came from a few different places. He noted that Alabama is considered a 'red state,' which currently means it votes Republican during presidential elections. The state last voted for a Democrat for the White House in 1976 when Jimmy Carter won.
'Blue automatically signals like this is something different. This is not your standard take on Alabama,' he said.
For his book, Moore focused on lower Alabama, part of which is known as the Black Belt. He said that the area was a 'blue crescent,' voting for the Democratic candidate in the 2016 presidential election.
'The older meaning of term, (Black Belt), dating back to 1820s and 30s, was really about the rich dark soil where people planted cotton and built plantations on, and of course, with that came African-American slavery,' Allen Tullos, a history professor at Emory University in Atlanta and the author of several books, told AL.com. 'So pretty early on those meanings got combined.'
The region had 'more than 50 percent of all slaves in the nation,' and the name 'outgrew its early farming roots,' according to the AL.com article. In antebellum South, the period from around 1810 until the Civil War started in 1861, Black Belt counties 'were the highest producers of cotton,' Moore wrote in his essay for the book.
'Afterward, because of their high black populations, those counties suffered some of the worst cruelty and violence of the Jim Crow era. Because of that continuing legacy of violence and intimidation, they became a focal point and battleground in the Civil Rights Movement.' 
Photographer Andrew Moore focused on lower Alabama for his new book. Part of the region is known as the Black Belt, a name that originally spoke to the dark topsoil of the land in the 1820s and 30s. 'People planted cotton and built plantations on (the land), and of course, with that came African-American slavery,' Allen Tullos, a history professor at Emory University in Atlanta, told AL.com. 'So pretty early on those meanings got combined.' After the Civil War, 'because of their high black populations, those counties suffered some of the worst cruelty and violence of the Jim Crow era. Because of that continuing legacy of violence and intimidation, they became a focal point and battleground in the Civil Rights Movement,' Moore wrote. Above, Gene, left, was part of the Civil Rights Movement and knew Martin Luther King Jr, Moore said. He started out at his uncle's barbershop and then he opened his own place in the early 1970s. Above, an image titled 'Gene's Barbershop, Greensboro'
Photographer Andrew Moore focused on lower Alabama for his new book. Part of the region is known as the Black Belt, a name that originally spoke to the dark topsoil of the land in the 1820s and 30s. 'People planted cotton and built plantations on (the land), and of course, with that came African-American slavery,' Allen Tullos, a history professor at Emory University in Atlanta, told AL.com. 'So pretty early on those meanings got combined.' After the Civil War, 'because of their high black populations, those counties suffered some of the worst cruelty and violence of the Jim Crow era. Because of that continuing legacy of violence and intimidation, they became a focal point and battleground in the Civil Rights Movement,' Moore wrote. Above, Gene, left, was part of the Civil Rights Movement and knew Martin Luther King Jr, Moore said. He started out at his uncle's barbershop and then he opened his own place in the early 1970s. Above, an image titled 'Gene's Barbershop, Greensboro'
There is a historical and symbolic weight to the region, Moore told DailyMail.com. Betty, above, grew up in Camden and her parents were very active in the Civil Rights Movement. As a teenager she brought food to the marchers and Martin Luther King Jr come to Camden several times to preach, he said. She left for New York in the late 60s, early 70s but eventually came back to her hometown. 'She's just a beautiful person, just a beautiful human being,' Moore said. Above, in an image titled, 'Betty and Her Shoe Museum, Camden,' bottles on the tree are a tradition that has been practiced for a long time in the South. Bottle trees are 'likely a Creole invention,' and the 'centuries-old custom' probably originated in West Africa, according to the Smithsonian Gardens website
There is a historical and symbolic weight to the region, Moore told DailyMail.com. Betty, above, grew up in Camden and her parents were very active in the Civil Rights Movement. As a teenager she brought food to the marchers and Martin Luther King Jr come to Camden several times to preach, he said. She left for New York in the late 60s, early 70s but eventually came back to her hometown. 'She's just a beautiful person, just a beautiful human being,' Moore said. Above, in an image titled, 'Betty and Her Shoe Museum, Camden,' bottles on the tree are a tradition that has been practiced for a long time in the South. Bottle trees are 'likely a Creole invention,' and the 'centuries-old custom' probably originated in West Africa, according to the Smithsonian Gardens website
Moore said that when he is taking pictures of people, most of the time he will ask permission beforehand. While photographing lower Alabama, he would meet people several times, have lunch with them and bring them food. Eliza Bonner and her brother Cornell Jenkins, live next door to the house, pictured above, that they grew up in. Moore said they took him inside the house, and in the big kitchen told him stories about all the time they spent there as kids. He then asked them if he could take their picture, titled 'Eliza Bonner and Her Brother Cornell Jenkins at Momma's Old House, Snow Hill.' 'And they were sitting next to each other and I said, "Oh, would you put your hand on your brother's knee." And the moment Eliza did that, man, her brother lit right up, wow, it was really something,' he said. 'So that was the moment in the picture'
Moore said that when he is taking pictures of people, most of the time he will ask permission beforehand. While photographing lower Alabama, he would meet people several times, have lunch with them and bring them food. Eliza Bonner and her brother Cornell Jenkins, live next door to the house, pictured above, that they grew up in. Moore said they took him inside the house, and in the big kitchen told him stories about all the time they spent there as kids. He then asked them if he could take their picture, titled 'Eliza Bonner and Her Brother Cornell Jenkins at Momma's Old House, Snow Hill.' 'And they were sitting next to each other and I said, "Oh, would you put your hand on your brother's knee." And the moment Eliza did that, man, her brother lit right up, wow, it was really something,' he said. 'So that was the moment in the picture'
But Moore didn't set out to redo the symbols of the South or one of the most famous books about the state, Walker Evans and James Agee's 1941 'Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.'
The project began, in a way, in 2012, he recalled, when a longtime associate suggested that Moore do a portfolio about the South. He said the idea dovetailed with his interests as he has family roots in the region and had lived in New Orleans in 1980 after college.
So Moore started taking road trips, exploring parts of Mississippi, the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia. But it wasn't until he had a small exhibition in 2014 that he turned his attention to Alabama. At that show, he meet Lucy Hicks, who invited him to stay with her and would end up introducing him to people.
In 2015, Moore went to Alabama, saying, 'Even though the first pictures weren't that good, that's the trip on which I met Pearlie.'
Somehow, he said, the two – one from New York, the other from the woods of Alabama - connected.
When he drove up to Pearlie's house the first time, Moore recounted in his essay that she asked, 'Do you know Jesus?' After affirming he did, Moore and Pearlie were soon talking about her chickens, and he took a picture of her playing with what she called her pets.
'For me, the joy in her face, like the pure unadulterated joy in her face, blew my mind,' he said. 'I'm glad I could show that.'
Moore continued to meet with Pearlie and several months later, she showed him her house. In it, 'there were two front rooms which were virtually unchanged since their construction nearly two centuries ago,' he wrote.
He spent two years photographing one of them, 'Pearlie's Front Room, Wilcox County.'
'I saw that room and I was like, "Wow, this is incredible," he recalled. 'That was a hard picture to make but really important.
'I was obsessed.'
Photographer Andrew Moore said he was obsessed with making the picture, above, titled 'Pearlie's Front Room, Wilcox County,' and that it took two years. He met Pearlie and after several months, she showed him her house. 'And I saw that room and I was like, "Wow, this is incredible,"' he said. In it, 'there were two front rooms which were virtually unchanged since their construction nearly two centuries ago. She later told me that she had never understood why, in all the 50 years she had lived in the house with her husband, that they had never renovated those rooms. But now she understood the wait, because the Lord had sent me to make pictures of her home,' Moore wrote in his essay for his book, 'Blue Alabama'
Photographer Andrew Moore said he was obsessed with making the picture, above, titled 'Pearlie's Front Room, Wilcox County,' and that it took two years. He met Pearlie and after several months, she showed him her house. 'And I saw that room and I was like, "Wow, this is incredible,"' he said. In it, 'there were two front rooms which were virtually unchanged since their construction nearly two centuries ago. She later told me that she had never understood why, in all the 50 years she had lived in the house with her husband, that they had never renovated those rooms. But now she understood the wait, because the Lord had sent me to make pictures of her home,' Moore wrote in his essay for his book, 'Blue Alabama'
In 2015, Moore went to Alabama, saying, 'Even though the first pictures weren't that good, that's the trip on which I met Pearlie.' Somehow, he said, the two ¿ one from New York, the other from the woods of Alabama - connected. When he drove up to Pearlie's house the first time, Moore recounted in his essay that she asked, 'Do you know Jesus?' After affirming he did, Moore and Pearlie were soon talking about her chickens, and he took the picture above of her playing with what she called her pets. 'For me, the joy in her face, like the pure unadulterated joy in her face, blew my mind,' he said. 'I'm glad I could show that.' The above image is titled 'Pearlie and Her Pets, Wilcox County'
In 2015, Moore went to Alabama, saying, 'Even though the first pictures weren't that good, that's the trip on which I met Pearlie.' Somehow, he said, the two – one from New York, the other from the woods of Alabama - connected. When he drove up to Pearlie's house the first time, Moore recounted in his essay that she asked, 'Do you know Jesus?' After affirming he did, Moore and Pearlie were soon talking about her chickens, and he took the picture above of her playing with what she called her pets. 'For me, the joy in her face, like the pure unadulterated joy in her face, blew my mind,' he said. 'I'm glad I could show that.' The above image is titled 'Pearlie and Her Pets, Wilcox County'
Inside the room, above, Moore said that Pearlie and her husband had bought the TV and records for decor ¿ they never watched or played them. The wood seen above is heart pine. 'It ages to this beautiful kind of tobacco black color,' Moore said. The color of the walls and rooms was significant for Moore. 'If you think about South, you know, it¿s always these big white houses, everything¿s so whitewashed. So I really like using these dark brown colors in these pictures.' Above, an image titled 'Entry Hall at Broken Arrow, Wilcox County'
Inside the room, above, Moore said that Pearlie and her husband had bought the TV and records for decor – they never watched or played them. The wood seen above is heart pine. 'It ages to this beautiful kind of tobacco black color,' Moore said. The color of the walls and rooms was significant for Moore. 'If you think about South, you know, it’s always these big white houses, everything’s so whitewashed. So I really like using these dark brown colors in these pictures.' Above, an image titled 'Entry Hall at Broken Arrow, Wilcox County'
While in Alabama, Moore met two elderly sisters who are activists. 'They look like these nice Southern ladies, in fact, they are like "Steel Magnolias" when it comes to activism,' he said, referencing the 1989 film of the same name. The painting, seen above in an image titled 'Girl in Green at Westwood, Uniontown,' is one of them, but Moore was hesitate to ask which sister it was. 'I love the realism of it,' he said of the portrait. Moore also noted the photo's 'great color harmony,' and the green in the painting, wall, glass object, box and the woman¿s eyes in the portrait
While in Alabama, Moore met two elderly sisters who are activists. 'They look like these nice Southern ladies, in fact, they are like "Steel Magnolias" when it comes to activism,' he said, referencing the 1989 film of the same name. The painting, seen above in an image titled 'Girl in Green at Westwood, Uniontown,' is one of them, but Moore was hesitate to ask which sister it was. 'I love the realism of it,' he said of the portrait. Moore also noted the photo's 'great color harmony,' and the green in the painting, wall, glass object, box and the woman’s eyes in the portrait
The room's dark brown walls are lightened in certain spots because people used to throw buckets of lye on them to get rid of bed bugs, Pearlie told Moore. He shot it many times in different ways and angles to get the image that is in his book, which he said he worked on for almost four years.
Another photo from Pearlie's home, 'Entry Hall at Broken Arrow, Wilcox County,' also has dark walls, which Moore explained was heart pine wood that 'ages to this beautiful kind of tobacco black color.
'If you think about the South, you know, it's always these big white houses, everything's so whitewashed. So I really like using these dark brown colors in these pictures.'
It was important to Moore to show a different side of the state, and he wrote in his essay: 'I photographed people I met and enjoyed meeting, and sought out people, both black and white, who I felt challenged received notions and stereotypes.'
Alabama is the nation's sixth poorest state, according to a nonprofit Alabama Possible, reported by the Birmingham Times in June 2018. Moore noted in his essay that the counties he was shooting in the Black Belt 'are among the poorest in the nation.' Wilcox County, for instance, had a poverty rate of around 32 percent in 2018, according to the US Census Bureau.
In spite of the hardship, Moore said that people found a way to talk to God that was really meaningful for them, and wrote that 'they remain places of hope…
'I was also conscious of working against the body of existing imagery of the South. I wanted to portray a community of resilient, defiant, creative individuals, rather than simply depict the legacy of poverty, oppression, and disenfranchisement.'
In 1893, William J Edwards started a school, which would be known as the Snow Hill Institute, in one of the state's poorest areas, where Moore said there was no real education opportunities for African Americans. Edwards, who graduated with a doctorate from Booker T. Washington¿s Tuskegee Institute, built the school up from a log cabin to owning 24 'buildings on more than 1,900 acres and had between 300 and 400 students pursuing both academic subjects and vocational training. The school closed in 1973 after the desegregation of Wilcox County,' according to 'Blue Alabama.' 'It really served a vital role in that community,' Moore said. Above, an image titled 'Grounds of Snow Hill Institute, Snow Hill'
In 1893, William J Edwards started a school, which would be known as the Snow Hill Institute, in one of the state's poorest areas, where Moore said there was no real education opportunities for African Americans. Edwards, who graduated with a doctorate from Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, built the school up from a log cabin to owning 24 'buildings on more than 1,900 acres and had between 300 and 400 students pursuing both academic subjects and vocational training. The school closed in 1973 after the desegregation of Wilcox County,' according to 'Blue Alabama.' 'It really served a vital role in that community,' Moore said. Above, an image titled 'Grounds of Snow Hill Institute, Snow Hill'
George Paul Kornegay was an artist and a minister, and some of his work is seen above. Born November 23, 1913, he died at aged 100 on June 3, 2014. A friend, who took Moore to Kornegay's house, said that some of the artwork in the yard had been stolen and thus less full than it had once been. His widow, Annie, is the woman in purple robe donning a mask and hat, and holding a cane. 'She just posed. I didn¿t ask her... She was just watching what I was doing,' Moore said. Kornegay was a one of these great outsider artists, he said, but some of the locals called him a two-headed priest: someone who preached about Jesus and God during the day but at night spoke about Satan and black magic. The title of the above image, 'Annie Kornegay and the Garden of the Two-Headed Priest, Perryville,' Moore said is his interpretation
George Paul Kornegay was an artist and a minister, and some of his work is seen above. Born November 23, 1913, he died at aged 100 on June 3, 2014. A friend, who took Moore to Kornegay's house, said that some of the artwork in the yard had been stolen and thus less full than it had once been. His widow, Annie, is the woman in purple robe donning a mask and hat, and holding a cane. 'She just posed. I didn’t ask her... She was just watching what I was doing,' Moore said. Kornegay was a one of these great outsider artists, he said, but some of the locals called him a two-headed priest: someone who preached about Jesus and God during the day but at night spoke about Satan and black magic. The title of the above image, 'Annie Kornegay and the Garden of the Two-Headed Priest, Perryville,' Moore said is his interpretation
In the image above, titled, 'Blue Sweep, Dallas County,' a lone trailer sits at the edge of a dark forest in front of a brushed dirt yard. 'That¿s the legacy of the way people kept their yards in Africa basically,¿ Moore explained. 'They would sweep all around the house to keep away flies and snakes and bugs. So that tradition was bought by African slaves to the South and was adopted.' The blue light of the sky in the image captivates. 'You don¿t know if it¿s day or nighttime,' he said, adding it is like Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte¿s series 'The Empire of Light.' The photograph partially inspired the book¿s title, 'Blue Alabama,' which Moore said came from a few different places
In the image above, titled, 'Blue Sweep, Dallas County,' a lone trailer sits at the edge of a dark forest in front of a brushed dirt yard. 'That’s the legacy of the way people kept their yards in Africa basically,’ Moore explained. 'They would sweep all around the house to keep away flies and snakes and bugs. So that tradition was bought by African slaves to the South and was adopted.' The blue light of the sky in the image captivates. 'You don’t know if it’s day or nighttime,' he said, adding it is like Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte’s series 'The Empire of Light.' The photograph partially inspired the book’s title, 'Blue Alabama,' which Moore said came from a few different places
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