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Dora, Yerkwood, Walker County, Alabama

Dora, Yerkwood, Walker County, Alabama

by Fumi Nagasaka

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During the 2016 US Presidential elections Japanese photographer, Fumi Nagasaka, became intrigued by the rural and southern USA. She had lived in New York City for a decade but despite travelling the world, had yet to visit the rest of the US. All this changed when her friend, Tanya Rouse, invited her to her hometown of Dora, Alabama. Nagasaka continued to visit Dora over several years, gradually building a photographic archive of her visits. A selection of these photographs are included in her new book Dora, Yerkwood, Walker County, Alabama.

More about this book

‘I can only describe Alabama in three words: family, God and football. Family is everything. It brings a sense of belonging, love, joy and community that keeps us unified. The South is a small, big world where everyone is connected in some way.’ - Diahmin Hawkins

Located northwest of city of Birmingham, Dora is a town of about 2,300 people. Church, college football, and Jack’s —the regional fast food chain— are popular with the town’s residents and Nagasaka was introduced to each on her visits. Although an outsider, Nagasaka gradually built trust and began to photograph the town’s residents. After documenting Dora High School’s homecoming football game Nagasaka’s connections grew exponentially. She found herself immersed in the lives of several Walker County residents and earned both their trust and the opportunity to tell their stories.

Published November 2023
225 x 270 mm portrait
144pp, 75 images
ISBN 978-1-915423-10-8

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  • Born in Nagoya, Japan, Fumi Nagaska moved to New York in 2002 to explore North American culture. In 2003 she began working as a freelance photographer for the Japanese cult magazine Street and later travelled around Europe and US shooting documentary photographs. Her work has been exhibited widely across Europe and Japan and was included in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2021 and forthcoming 2023 Prize exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, an open submission winner at Belfast Photo Festival in 2019 and the Photo Chronicles Portrait Photography Award in 2019. Nagasaka’s work has been featured in publications including It's Nice That , AnOther and Dazed Digital.

  • ‘Around the time this project began I was living in New York working as a photographer. I often felt lonely, stressed out about everyday life and worried about the future. When my friend Tanya first took me to Walker County in 2017…what I found was beautiful, charming and full of love. The people I met welcomed and accepted me with open arms and that made me feel very comfortable. In no time, this small southern town became another home to me. People carry stories that are not easy to share and I am grateful to those who trusted me enough to share theirs. This project gave me energy and purpose in my life and reminded me why I take pictures.’

    - Fumi Nagasaka