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In the galleries 

Born in Chattanooga, Tenn., Jeff Whetstone says, "The South I know thrives." Whetstone's large black and white photographs of the South are arresting, studied, and informed by historical and contemporary masters of photography from Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange to Jeff Wall and Andreas Gursky. Shot with a large format camera, Whetstone's hyper-real photographs transcend the usual production and reception of photographs as snapshots or informative journalism. His photographs hover somewhere between heaven and hell, quivering in limbo. "Deerhunter, 2000" (pictured), shows an actual hunter sitting high up in his tree seat, waiting in the woods for his next kill. So still and surreal, one almost thinks this must be a Duane Hanson sculpture photographed in black and white, or a meticulous photomontage. River of Earth, at the John and June Allcott Gallery in the Hanes Art Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, is Whetstone's first solo show since he moved back to Durham from New Haven, Conn., where he received his Master's in Fine Arts in Photography from Yale. There will be a reception for the artist Thursday, Aug. 23, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The exhibition runs through Sept. 16. Call 962-2015 for details. --elin slavick

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