Water calls to us as human beings, perhaps because we are mostly made up of the stuff. It shapes the land and makes life livable. We are drawn to water for many reasons: for our health and survival, for spiritual rites and rituals, for athletic endeavors, and often for the pure pleasure of social engagement. Water cleanses and invigorates. In the heat of a southern summer, it cools us and acts as a social focal point. Water attracts every race and social strata. We come to it alone and in pairs, in families and in groups. It can be a place of isolation and lone meditation or a place to let one’s guard down, along with much clothing, and rubs shoulders with complete strangers. Water motivates us to dare and it will cushion our fall.
I find myself drawn to the old landmarks of my memory. A common thread among them is water. My youthful fantasies were of Huck Finn floating down the Mississippi River and my realities were tubing down mountain streams in water so cold it turned your lips blue. Water flows down out of the mountains and finds its way to the ocean. It meanders its way across my southern landscape. My interest in these images is to examine the social significance of water in our lives. I want to examine how water acts as the connective tissue in the social fabric of life.
Bryce Lankard is a North Carolina native and graduate of UNC–Chapel Hill. His work has been published in numerous magazines, including The Village Voice and The New York Times Magazine. In 1995, he co-founded Tribe Magazine in New Orleans, serving as creative director. After Hurricane Katrina, he co-founded the nonprofit New Orleans Photo Alliance. Since returning to North Carolina, he has helped develop and coordinate what is now the Click! Triangle Photography Festival. His most recent project, Drawn to Water, debuted as a solo exhibition at Flanders Gallery in Raleigh in October 2016.