Atlantan John Bayne photographs the graves of Southern writers

Snapping the stones of the South’s native sons


Southern writers have long had a fascination with death, so it’s not surprising that an avid reader might develop a fascination with the death of Southern writers. Such is the case with John Bayne, an Atlanta book collector and fan of Southern lit who has spent the past 7 years photographing the tombstones of Southern authors like Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Flannery O’Connor, Richard Wright and others. Bayne has recently published a book of photographs titled Gravely Concerned: The Graves of Southern Writers.

“A lot of people when they talk about Southern literature will immediately say the word gothic,” says Bayne. “And it’s true there’s no shortage of death and dying in Southern literature. Another aspect of Southern literature is the sense of family. And there’s a real sense of affection for the land and a sense of place, memory and the past... All of those themes kind of synthesize in a cemetery plot.”