Jetersville, VA

By Michael Tyrone Delaney

Jetersville, VA is an on-going, coming-of-age photo project about Black familial connection in the rural American South. It explores themes of Black joy, generational trauma, and ancestral tracing. 

Growing up on the West Coast, I felt disconnected from my roots. My dad’s side of the family is from Jetersville, a small town in rural Virginia. He is one of eight children. The family grew up dealing with poverty, racism and the untimely death of their mother. All of these conditions created deep generational trauma that lingers to this day. 

This year I took a trip to Virginia. It was my first visit in six years -- the last trip was to see my family and attend my grandfather’s funeral. This time, I spent a day driving around with my dad and his cousin making photos, visiting their childhood homes, hearing stories about their youth that I’d never heard before. It was a cathartic and healing day.

This project is a means of healing and creating new connections with my family as an adult, while exploring the universal themes of familial connection. The Black Experience in America is one fraught with pain, trauma and struggle. Through this project I aim to also showcase the triumph, resilience and joy of the Black American.

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Michael Tyrone Delaney

Michael Tyrone Delaney is a photographer and director in Los Angeles. His raw portraits aim to capture genuine moments with a focus on underrepresented communities. Michael’s work has been published in i-D Magazine, BRICK Magazine, The Face, and LA Weekly. He is currently working on a photo project showcasing the Black experience in rural Virginia.

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