Rachel Boillot is a photographer, filmmaker, and educator currently based in Arkansas.
Boillot earned a BA and BFA from Tufts University (Medford, MA) as well as an MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University (Durham, NC). Her work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (Washington D.C.), the Tennessee Arts Commission (Nashville, TN), the Riverview Foundation (Chattanooga, TN), and the Annenberg Foundation (Los Angeles, CA).
Moon Shine: Photographs of the Cumberland Plateau was published by Daylight Books in 2019. Boillot co-edited the work with Sasha Wolf (Sasha Wolf Projects), and the publication featuresan essay from curator Lisa Volpe (Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
She currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Photography/Studio Art in the Art + Design Department at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR.
Moon Shine is a collection of photographs inspired by the unique musical traditions found in Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau. This region is home to a rich storytelling heritage, showcased in historic fiddle tunes, balladry, religious gospel pieces and other songs passed down as part of a formidable oral tradition.
Today, this old-time tradition is threatened by the limitations of a twenty-first century attention span, the popularity of commercial music, and the distractions of an increasingly digital era with its seemingly endless streams of content.
As a photographer exploring the region, I drew upon the notes shared with me to create a lyrical portrait of place.
My images explore the relationship between the heard, seen, and felt as I explored acts of translation and memory, making photographs of elderly tradition-bearers while hearing their stories one last time.