Changing Moods-50 years of black and white photography on display the
Evelyn Burrow Museum
HANCEVILLE, Ala. — The work of North Alabama photographer John Dersham is
currently on display at Wallace State Community College, documenting 50
years of his life spent taking photos.
Dersham’s work in black and white photography began when his father gifted
him in 1960 with a Kodak Brownie camera he received from an Eastman Kodak
promotion 30 years earlier. That led to a long and distinguished
background in photography and the “Changing Moods – Fifty Years in Black
and White” exhibit that is on display at the Burrow Center for Fine and
While using that little Kodak Brownie, Dersham’s parents recognized their
son’s passion for photography and upgraded his equipment with a
professional large format camera, a small darkroom with an enlarger and a
film-developing tank. He went on to join the Mid Missouri Camera Club,
which included professors from the University of Missouri’s photography
and photojournalism school. He was mentored by photographers Roger Berg
and Andy Tau, and he studied photography at Truman University and the
University of Missouri where he maintained an on-campus studio.
Dersham spent 30 years working for Eastman Kodak and on his travels for
the company he would always pack his cameras so that he could take photos
of the interesting places he visited.
“I would get up pre-daylight and shoot till my first appointment, or I’d
shoot late afternoon or night shots,” Dersham said. “I always found a way
to shoot and I was out to perpetuate my fine art photography and nothing
seemed to stop me.”
He earned his Masters of Photography while working with Kodak and his work
was placed on display at Kodak office buildings, factories and photo
finishing plants nationwide.
Dersham still prints all of his photographs in his own darkroom, using the
highest quality products for the best archival prints that will last for
years to come.
“I put 100 percent into this work and cut no corners,” he said. “I figured
I have spent a lifetime producing this work, so I might as well take the
extra time and cost to do it to last for future generations to enjoy.”
Donny Wilson, director of the Evelyn Burrow Museum, said Dersham’s exhibit
is one of the finest examples of black and white photography he’s ever
“The quality of work Dersham shows is amazing,”’ Wilson said. “The details
in the photographs, the compositions, and the contrasts all evoke some
feeling, whether it be nostalgia from a photo of an old country store or a
sense of peace from a rural landscape.”
The event is free and open to the public.
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