The Southeast Center for Photography (SEC4P) expands on Greenville’s flourishing art scene in the Village of West Greenville with a view into world-class fine art photography, as envisioned by photographer and founder Michael Pannier.
SEC4P exhibits not only demonstrate current trends in photography but also reflect Pannier’s love for the dreamy aesthetic of Southern photographers. “Southern photography is more ethereal than other fine art photography. It’s deeper, more raw, and from the heart,” he says.
Pannier’s interest in the medium began in a ninth-grade photography class in his native Maryland. His fine art photographs span decades and include classical themes like landscape, the nude, and portrait. In January, Greenville can view Pannier’s pictures at SEC4P from a series entitled Another Time, as well as selected new works. It’s a first for him to feature his photographs in the gallery. Though he is quick to promote the excellent work of other photographers, Pannier keeps mum about the apparent beauty of his own.
When asked about his decision to open SEC4P in Greenville, Pannier responds, “My wife, Jane, and I are very impressed by the thriving arts community here and by the caliber of photographers within the area. We see Greenville as an arts-friendly town and are excited by the opportunity to expand the appreciation for photography as a fine art form.” Before opening SEC4P in 2015, Pannier operated galleries in Maryland specializing in painting and sculpture, with the addition of photography in the mid-to-late 1990s, when photography became a dominating force in the world of art collecting.
Other than featuring solo shows by renowned art photographers, SEC4P features juried exhibits that include a tremendous variation of individually interpreted topics like self-portrait, architectural photography, color, and documentary. The jurors, handpicked by Pannier, are artists at the top of their field who select the best photographs from a pool of national and international online entries. January’s exhibit Monochrome features forty black-and-white photographs chosen from 1,000 entries.
Pannier has some big ideas for SEC4P in 2017. He has lined up a prestigious slate of top-notch photographers to teach workshops at the center. He explains, “The idea is for the workshops to expose Greenville to national photographers in art photography without duplicating efforts in art education presented by other organizations. These are world-class photographers teaching here in 2017.” The workshops will more than likely bring a national draw of students to Greenville with class offerings such as Zen and the Art of Photography, Defining the Personal Narrative, and The Intimate Portrait taught by leading photography artists like Joyce Tenneson, Doug Beasley, Susan Burnstine, Aline Smithson, and Keith Carter.
Pannier will also feature compelling solo exhibitions like Andrew Feiler’s Without Regard to Sex, Race and Color that explores Morris Brown College, an African American college that closed its doors in 2002 due to financial pressures and a loss of accreditation. Feiler states, “Today, its largely abandoned campus stands as a testament to a proud past, a challenging present, and an uncertain future, not only for this one institution but for all of America’s historically black colleges and universities.” The Colorado-based artist Emma Powell will exhibit her ethereal alternative photographic processes in a March exhibition at SEC4P.
When asked about his goals for his artwork and also for the gallery, Pannier proclaims, “My goal, personally, is to continue to explore photography. As far as the goal for SEC4P, I believe we are just beginning our work here; I’d like to educate the community about fine art photography and to expand the appreciation for the medium.”