Devil’s Promenade

by Antone Dolezal & Lara Shipley

In their new book published by Overlapse, Antone Dolezal and Lara Shipley return to their home region of the Ozarks in the American Midwest, where locals persist in their search for a legendary floating orb of light that can only be seen from the Devil’s Promenade. It’s a lushly wooded road in an area where wanderers flock to seek possible redemption, or just to escape the boredom and darkness of ordinary rural life. This story-led book offers a nuanced, mysterious and tender representation by photographers returning to the place where they grew up, but also reveals the current, stark realities of a remote place in America. Longtime collaborators, Antone and Lara currently live at nearly opposite ends of the United States but their point for making this work meets in the middle,at the physiographic intersection of four heartland states. Together they have documented Ozark people and landscape over a period of almost 10 years, drawn first by a desire to reconnect with their past, then compelled to relate something of the character and rituals of an area where locals can become skittish around strangers. Their photographic interests encompass culture, identity, folklore and mythology of place—but forming a clear picture of this isolated place is complicated. With Devil’s Promenade, the photographers take us along their journey into the thick woods where anything might happen; you may either bathe in the light of salvation, or come face-to-face with the Devil on a bridge, in the inky dark.