Springs Victory: Kore Comes Back by Bea Nettles


During my travels to cemeteries I have photographed surnames that are parts of speech that I find on headstones. For sometimes obvious, but also curious reasons, people have been named for places, occupations, plants, animals, colors and personalities. Using these words I've created books that investigate language, mythology, history, and some of life’s major events. This is my version of the myth of Persephone (also known as Kore by the Greeks.)

The inspiration to write my version of the myth of Persephone occurred because I had already located the surnames of Demeter, the goddess of grain, Neptune and the messenger Hermes. Additional searches located other key characters including Kore's father Jupiter (the Roman Zeus), and her husband and king of the underworld Hades. What followed were months of thinking about this familiar myth. It is a compelling explanation for the return of spring and a story of a powerful mother/daughter bond. Corn, wheat, barley, oats all appear as do abundant birds. Winter is filled with wind storms, frost, sleet, ice and snow. I am continuing to collect new and marvelously descriptive words!

Artist Bio

The exhibition career of Bea Nettles began in 1970 when her work was shown in “Photography Into Sculpture,” at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Recognition as an experimental photographic artist followed and her work has been featured in over two hundred exhibitions throughout the world and appears in a major retrospective monograph Harvest of Memory: Bea Nettles. Her books appear in Handmade Books, 2010 and 500 Handmade Books, Lark Books, 2008; The Nature of Craft and the Penland Experience, Lark Books, 2004; The Book of Alternative Processes, Delmar, 2001 and reviewed in Bonefolder, Fall 2008, Umbrella, Spring 2005 and Winter 1988, JAB12: The Journal of Artists Books, Spring 2018 and Fall 1999. Interviews appear in Ampersand, Fall 2005; on a podcast from University of Alabama, and a range of videos posted to YouTube. Numerous public collections and special collections libraries contain her work and she has received two National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowships and grants from the New York and Illinois State Arts Councils. Nettles has taught thousands of students since 1970. Her classic textbook Breaking the Rules: A Photo Media Cookbook reached two generations of readers. She has delivered lectures and workshops internationally and is widely recognized for her innovations in mixed media photography and photographic books.