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Gravity Is Stronger Here

GRAVITY IS STRONGER HERE is a creative nonfiction montage made from photographs by Phyllis B. Dooney and docu-poems by Jardine Libaire (author of Here, Kitty, Kitty and the upcoming release White Fur); it’s a book about looking for America in America. In 2011, Dooney visited Greenville, Mississippi, starting a five-year-long documentary project featuring Halea (who is openly gay) and her dynamic Southern American family.

Greenville is a key tile in our national mosaic as it represents the American boom town left in the wake of a changing global economy. The book presents us with a place/space where love for a gay daughter and an Evangelical love of God can exist in one mother, violence and tenderness in the same relationship, and hope and hopelessness in the same daily life. These multiple truths are often lost in stories that collapse American families into constituencies.

GRAVITY IS STRONGER HERE provides less an imposed narrative than a consciousness; the subjects are within reach — you can smell the musk, cigarette smoke, meat cooking in the backyard, a magnolia blooming by the door. The experience inside the pages is a nearness, a grazing of shoulders with another’s humanity. The story is extended by its multimedia components which can be found online at GRAVITY IS STRONGER HERE was awarded Honorable Mention by The Center for Documentary Studies’ Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize in 2016.

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PHYLLIS DOONEY, photographer