Michael P. Smith Fund For Documentary Photography 2014 Finalist William Widmer Postcards From Pine BluffProject Summary: Pine Bluff, a county seat of 48,000 about 45 minutes south of Little Rock, Arkansas was once a major agricultural and industrial center of the South. Its location along the banks of the Arkansas River established Pine Bluff as a hub for transportation and manufacturing in the early 1900s, but as the nation's shipping economies evolved from trains and river barges to interstates and semi trucks, the fabric of Pine Bluff began to fray. Local business districts have been abandoned, empty factory buildings now loom in the fog of the river, and the population continues to steadily drop. In 2009, the town was ranked as the most dangerous metropolitan area in the country, and roughly one third of its current residents live below the national poverty line. After decades of disinvestment and economic decline, Pine Bluff stands as a threadbare reminder of what once was a shining example of middle class African American life in the Southern Delta region.
Congratulations to all of the Finalists in the 2014 Michael P. Smith Fund For Documentary PhotographyAll images © William Widmer