"John Dersham's breathtaking and inspirational photography is getting its long-deserved recognition in a collection that only he could master. My Alabama: John Dersham Photographs State is sure to be a treasured photography book for the ages.” — Randy Grider, Executive Director, Mentone Arts & Cultural Center
There are probably many ways to celebrate Alabama’s 200th birthday. Award-winning photographer John Dersham is doing it with a new book. My Alabama: John Dersham Photographs a State is a selection of 200 images of the state from Dersham’s vast catalog of over 50,000. These photographs — each one a testament to Dersham’s compositional and lighting skills — offer a unique and stunning portrait of Alabama’s diverse natural, topographical, and cultural assets. The release of this new book, which carries a foreword by Bo Jackson, is made possible with the support of Alabama Bicentennial Commission (AL200).
My Alabama is organized seasonally. Follow Dersham through a warm, green Alabama spring on the Cahaba River to a summer evening on Cherokee County’s Weiss Lake. Throw on a coat on a frosty morning and find one of the state’s many waterfalls, like Pisgah Gorge Falls, or wander a path on the snow-covered Lookout Mountain. You’ll move past breathtaking landscapes, scenic village crossroads with rustic country stores, and gleaming cityscapes shining in the evening light. From Guntersville Lake to the peaks of Monte Sano, from the port of Mobile to rural St. Clair County, Dersham captures the astonishing varied beauty of the Yellowhammer State in every shot, proving himself to be a photographer unlike any other.
John Dersham is an internationally recognized, award-winning photographer, whose art photography and commercial work has been featured in gallery and other exhibits nationwide. He is one of the most sought-after photography instructors and speakers on the subject of photography in the Southeast. He developed his love of photography in his 30 years spent working at Kodak. Today, Dersham is President of DeKalb Tourism. My Alabama: John Dersham Photographs a State is the first published book devoted to his work.
Alabama — what's the state known for? Slavery, Civil War, segregation, civil rights, football, literature, art, music, cooking, the space program, agriculture, steel, coal, marble, the auto industry, and medical research. All true. But then there's this: the most biologically diverse state east of the Mississippi; the fifth most-forested by percent of land mass; one of the richest river complexes in the world; home to the most aquatic species in the nation, the wettest city, the largest inland delta system; five distinct physiographic regions; and four real seasons. What that adds up to, if you're as talented as master photographer John Dersham, is a canvas of spectacular beauty. In My Alabama, Dersham presents two hundred images revealing the diversity and bounty of the twenty-second state as it celebrates its two hundredth anniversary of statehood. The book is loosely organized around the four seasons, and its images are mostly landscapes, though the built environment makes appearances — from the busy port of Mobile to rural churches and schools to small-town streetscapes. No other Alabama picture book ranges across the entire state like this one, and Dersham's images are a visual feast. Brief captions provide location data and key facts; a few interspersed short essays offer additional background. An index links places and themes, and a photo log reveals how and when specific images were made.
John Alexander Dersham’s photography career began on November 1, 1960, when he took the first pictures of his life on his father’s 1930 Kodak Brownie. Fifty-eight years later, his art has continued without pause along the course of many years. Dersham has served as a manager at Eastman Kodak for thirty years, where organizing gallery exhibits and teaching photography has allowed him to foster a new love for photography in fledgling artists as well as rekindle his own passion for the craft. He was awarded the Award of Excellence by his peers in the tourism industry at the Alabama Governor's Conference on Tourism in 2018. After a lifetime of shooting photography coast-to-coast in cities, towns, parks, rivers, mountains, and byways, Dersham has returned to Alabama to capture the essence of the Sweet Home state.