Gallery exhibitions focus on photography

“Negress with Green Nails” (2005) by “Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs,” appearing this fall at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens.

“Negress with Green Nails” (2005) by “Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs,” appearing this fall at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens.

The smart money this fall is on photography, a genre the story-telling South has always excelled at. With its gorgeous light, delightfully off-kilter people and lushly photogenic landscape, the South seems the ideal muse for the medium.

In addition to the October events and exhibits surrounding the annual roster of lectures, exhibits and workshops that constitute the 19th Atlanta Celebrates Photography (ACP), there is a survey of work by longtime Atlanta photographer Chip Simone at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. Farther afield, Athens’ Georgia Museum of Art features the photographs of New York art sensation Mickalene Thomas whose work explores gender, race and identity. Following are some of the upcoming shows you won’t want to miss.

John Waters, 'Low Definition.' Every year the ACP citywide celebration of photography ups its game. This year is no different. The first in its new marquee events is the renowned cult filmmaker ("Pink Flamingoes," "Polyester") and visual artist John Waters, who will talk about his tongue-in-cheek work in photography during a touchdown in Atlanta. Oct. 20, Woodruff Art Center Rich Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. $15 and up.

'Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs.' Though she is best known for her striking, embellished, colorful rhinestone-encrusted paintings, celebrated African-American artist Mickalene Thomas's exhibition at Athens' Georgia Museum of Art will examine how black womanhood is defined in more than 40 photographs. Thomas' photography — which she has been pursuing since her student days at Yale — is pulled from personal and art history and is juxtaposed in "Muse" with works by some art world heavyweights — Hank Willis Thomas, Malick Sidibé — who have inspired her. Oct. 14-Jan. 7, 2018. Georgia Museum of Art, 90 Carlton St., Athens. Free.

'One Glass Eye: A Retrospective by Chip Simone.' One of the founding members of Atlanta's photography community, curator and photographer Chip Simone will present work from his epic 45-year career in this sweeping retrospective. Integrating traditional film photography and digital work, Simone shows the dramatic shifts that have defined his art form over the decades and which continue to inform his own work. Sept. 23-Nov. 18. Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, 75 Bennett St., Atlanta. $5-$8.

'Medium.' A spooky show for spooky times, "Medium" examines human interaction with the spirit world. The group show mixes nationally renowned artists — Carrie Mae Weems and Susan MacWilliam among them — and locals as it examines communication between the living and the dead. Aug. 29-Dec. 3. Zuckerman Museum of Art, 492 Prillaman Way, Kennesaw. Free.

'Text Me: How We Live in Language.' Curated by writer, designer, brand strategist and "Design Matters" podcast host Debbie Millman, "Text Me" shows the role typography — whether in products, social media, tattoos, clothing and décor — plays in our lives. Work by artists and designers including Roz Chast, Maira Kalman, Edwin Scholossberg, Oliver Jeffers and many others is included. Sept. 16-Feb. 4. Museum of Design Atlanta, 1315 Peachtree St., Atlanta. $5-$10.

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