Rory Doyle

Rory Doyle is a photojournalist and freelance photographer based in Cleveland, Mississippi. His worked has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Sugar & Rice Magazine, and the Bitter Southerner, among many others.

Instagram: @rorydoylephoto

How did your interest in your medium begin and how did you arrive at your current style?

I grew up in New England and studied journalism at St. Michael's College in Vermont. Almost everything in the curriculum was about writing, but in my last semester, I signed up for photojournalism — an optional elective. Something clicked right away in that class, and since then, photography has been my only focus.

How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?

I moved to Cleveland, Mississippi, for grad school at Delta State University and got my first introduction to the Deep South. I have a special love for the Mississippi Delta, and I think a lot of that comes from growing up in a place so different. The Delta has a way of trapping you — insulating you from the hustle and bustle of city life. But I love that. There's so much to explore here, and the characters of the Delta are what make it like no place else. I'll always be an "outsider" who moved South, but I love sharing a unique perspective in a captivating region.

How do you choose your subjects?

I work a lot with writer Boyce Upholt, another New Englander who happened to move to the same town during the same year. We enjoy highlighting Deltans and Mississippians who are often overlooked or underrepresented. For example, we've spent quite a bit of time with the "hidden" Latino community in our county. The people of the Delta have fascinating stories, and they come from all corners of the Earth. [Doyle and Upholt founded Upror Media, a documentary storytelling collective. -Ed.]

Who have been some of your biggest influences or your best teachers?

I've had the honor of participating in Barefoot Workshops as a student, and as an assistant to the legendary Ron Haviv, one of the co-founders of VII Photo Agency. Ron's been a big influence and helped me think critically about composition and storytelling. And I owe a lot to Professor Jerry Swope, the photojournalism instructor who sparked my initial interest. 

Do you feel creatively satisfied?

Absolutely not. I feel that I am progressing each time I shoot, but I feel I have a long road of learning ahead of me. I'd love to develop a few long term meaningful projects that shed led on this special place I call home.