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Maude Schuyler Clay author's photo

Maude Schuyler Clay was born in Greenwood, Mississippi. After attending the University of Mississippi and the Memphis Academy of Arts, she assisted the photographer William Eggleston. Her photographs have appeared in publications such as Esquire, Fortune, and Vanity Fair, and are included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The National Museum for Women in the Arts, and the High Museum, Atlanta, among others.

After working in New York for several years, she returned to live in the Mississippi Delta in 1987. Clay continued her color portrait work, for which she received a Mississippi Arts and Letters Award for Photography. In an artist statement, she wrote, "I prefer to take photographs in the natural low light of early morning or late afternoon, 'in the gloaming,' as the Scots called it  the last rays of eery, orange light that blanket the evening before the sun disappears for the night."

In 1993, she began a series of stark black and white photographs of the Mississippi Delta landscape. The University Press of Mississippi published her widely recognized monograph, Delta Land, in 1999, which received another Mississippi Arts and Letters Award in 2000. She was the Photography Editor of the literary magazine, The Oxford American, from 1998 to 2002. Delta Dogs, with text by Beth Ann Fennelly and an introduction by Brad Watson, was published by the University of Mississippi Press in 2014. Her most recent book, Mississippi History, with a foreword by Richard Ford, was published by Steidl in 2015. She continues to live and work in the Delta.

Clay writes: "I started working in color when I got my first Rolleiflex 2 1/4 camera in 1975. One of my Art Academy teachers once told me there are only three subjects for visual art: Landscape, portraits, and still life. I like the formal nature and the calm domesticity of the photographs that Ann Fisher-Wirth chose to illustrate and inspire her wonderful poems about Mississippi."

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