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Local photographer selected for museum exhibit

Sam Gause/The Natchez Democrat —  Natchez photographer Marcus Frazier is among 10 artists from around the state who are participating in the Mississippi Museum of Art’s Mississippi Invitational, a bi-annual art exhibit in Jackson. Frazier was also selected for the invitational in 2011.

Sam Gause/The Natchez Democrat — Natchez photographer Marcus Frazier is among 10 artists from around the state who are participating in the Mississippi Museum of Art’s Mississippi Invitational, a bi-annual art exhibit in Jackson. Frazier was also selected for the invitational in 2011. 

By Olivia McClure/The Natchez Democrat

Natchez, with its grid of neat, narrow streets and historic houses, is a photogenic town. But for Natchez native Marcus Frazier, photography is more about capturing the things that are easily forgotten — like a girl showing off a flower she’s just picked, or a boy holding a magnifying glass up to his eye.

Those photos are two of six that landed Frazier in the Mississippi Invitational at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson. The exhibit, which takes place every three years, includes the work of 15 contemporary visual artists who live in Mississippi. It will be on display until Jan. 25.

Artists submit works to be considered for the Mississippi Invitational. A guest curator interviews the artists and chooses pieces for the exhibit.

Frazier said Natchez is a perfect environment for photos — what he calls “pieces of history.” That means they fit in perfectly at a museum, he said. This is Frazier’s second time in the Mississippi Invitational.

Frazier, 37, rarely plans his photos ahead of time. Instead, he keeps a camera by his side and just looks out for opportunities.

“It’s photos of my neighbors a lot of times,” Frazier said. “If I see something when I’m driving, even. It’s that fleeting moment.”

Much like his approach to shooting photos, Frazier stumbled upon photography unintentionally. While working on a degree in graphic design at the University of Southern Mississippi, he took photography classes simply to fulfill requirements.

“I needed credits,” he said. “Then I got addicted.”

Today, Frazier is a sort of historian, documenting details of life in Natchez — things that locals know have always been there, and always will be, but that somehow amaze outsiders.

“When I was in the Marines, I was seeing their pictures from places they went on vacations,” Frazier said. “With mine, they couldn’t believe how big pecan trees are here, or the pretty pink sky at sunset.”

Frazier, who served in the Marines from 1996 to 1998, went to boot camp in California and was stationed in North Carolina. Though far away from Natchez, where he was born and raised, the art was always there if he looked, he said.

Even carpentry, which is another of Frazier’s trades, has an artistic side.

“Two people will build a box different ways,” he said. “If one is an artist, he’ll make it visually pleasing.”

Frazier now keeps busy as a freelance photographer for weddings and other events, but still likes photos of “people just living life” the best.

Photography is a special, powerful form of art, Frazier believes. A photo is exact — a slice of time that will last forever, a memory that cannot be forgotten.

“Lots of tourists here take photos of antebellum homes,” Frazier said. “I’ve seen it all my life. It’s really small things that make the best photos, like kids playing.”