Debbie Fleming Caffery

Polly, Debbie Fleming Caffery’s unusual and affecting collective portrait of the late Polly Joseph, stands as a testament to the unlikely bond that was formed between two women of Southern Louisiana.

“During the sugar cane harvesting of 1983, while I was photographing along the Mississippi River, I would often pass an isolated house. The subtle signs of a presence were finally confirmed one day when I noticed smoke coming from the chimney. It was not until the harvesting of the following year that I met the inhabitant of the house, Polly Joseph. As she walked along the side of her house, I was awestruck by the sight of her; her face was old but magnificent and she held her body regally. I stopped to talk to her that afternoon, and from that day forward I photographed her many times. . . Going to Polly’s was like being vacuumed into a feeling of security and warmth. I would rather have gone to her house than any place during those years. . . Our friendship was characterized by warmth and affection and shrouded in the dimness of her home.” – Debbie Fleming Caffery.

Says Vince A. Aletti of the Village Voice, “So these are pictures about intimacy, not otherness—a record of a friendship and artistic collaboration.”