Rotan Switch is Lisa McCord, photo documentation of life on her grandparents’ cotton farm in the Arkansas Delta community of Rotan. It takes its name from the community’s central landmark—the railroad switch where farmers loaded their cotton bales onto trains headed out of the Delta. Although it has not been used in years, it remains a potent symbol of the complex intersections of industry and agriculture, of racism and injustice. Collected over the last forty-four years, these images and stories are a reflection on the people and places that have taught McCord the meaning of the word home. Constructed from McCord’s analog photographs, family snapshots and ephemera, including monochrome photographs, color polaroids, and recipes, this long-term project is also a self-exploration into her inherently complicated role in this community.

We designed Rotan Switch as a dialogue between text and images ebbing and flowing back and forth between spreads that are dedicated exclusively to visual or written narrative in the tradition of a conversation with a storyteller as they look through a pile of photographs. 

Kehrer Verlag
204pp, 9 x 11.8 in.
Artist: Lisa McCord
Text: Alexa Dilworth, Lonnie Graham, Aline Smithson
Design Direction: Caleb Cain Marcus