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Arts Playlist: Island Life - Photography by Jay Fleming

Jay Fleming
Jay Fleming
Jay Fleming, author of Island Life

The Historic Odessa Foundation’s latest exhibition - Island Life: Photography by Jay Fleming - documents a disappearing way of life on two Chesapeake Bay islands.

And Fleming joins Delaware Public Media’s Kelli Steele on this week’s Arts Playlist to discuss his work.

Delaware Public Media's Kelli Steele interviews photographer Jay Fleming

The Historic Odessa Foundation recently debuted an exhibition documenting a disappearing way of life on a pair of Chesapeake Bay islands.

Island Life: Photography by Jay Fleming features Fleming’s photographs of Chesapeake’s last two inhabited offshore islands - Smith Island and Tangier Island.

Island Life:  Crab
Jay Fleming
Island Life: Crab

“The exhibit features about 10 pieces that reflect a body of work that I created on Smith Island and Tangier Island, both of which are the last two inhabited offshore islands in the Chesapeake Bay." said Fleming. "And by offshore, I mean that the islands are not connected to the mainland by a bridge.” 

Fleming says many of the photographs in the book and the exhibition were taken from his kayak during his trips to the islands since 2009.

Island Life:  Pelicans
Jay Fleming
Island Life: Pelicans

He adds that the photos document remarkable changes to the communities and landscapes during that time.

Fleming notes that cemeteries are washing into the water, acres of marshland are disappearing, and the populations are in decline.

He says he felt a sense of urgency to document the islands’ iconic working waterfronts, as the very forces that sustain them also threaten to take them away.

And Fleming will visit the Historic Odessa Foundation Thursday, November 18, 2021 to discuss his photos and these two islands.

“And I’ll be able to reflect upon more than 10 years of going out there and documenting the community, the wildlife and the environment out there,” Fleming said.

The photos in the exhibition are from Fleming’s latest book Island Life and can be seen at the Historic Odessa Foundation Visitor Center through December 31, 2021.

Island Life: Old home
Jay Fleming
Island Life: Old home

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.