Kenya and Mississippi
Betty Press never expected to travel beyond the rural Nebraskan farm where she grew up. After graduating from university and working for a few years as a teacher she hitch-hiked around the world for two years with her husband. Betty is well known for her photographs taken in Africa where she lived and worked in Kenya from 1987 to 1995 and in Sierra Leone in 2008-09 while her husband was on a Fulbright scholarship.
Now living in Hattiesburg, Mississippi she continues to photograph in the USA, Central America and in Africa.She still considers Kenya her second home. From 2010 to 2019 she documented life in Mississippi.Finding Mississippi records real life in small communities throughout Mississippi with black-and-white film, using toy and vintage cameras. The resulting imperfections, soft focus and vignetting serve as metaphors for how landscape, race and religion have played a part in the complicated history of Mississippi.
Her photographs have been widely-exhibited, selected for many juried competitions and added to many private and public collections. In 2011 she published an award winning photobook,I Am Because We Are: African Wisdom in Image and Proverb which captured a stunning, life-affirming portrait of the African people and culture. In August 2019 she returned to Kenya to work on personal projects dealing with urban culture and social injustice. She is represented by Panos Pictures, London; International Visions, Washington, DC; Fischer Galleries, Jackson, Mississippi; and One Off Contemporary Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya.