I was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, just 18 miles east of my hometown, Tallulah, Louisiana. Vicksburg, situated on high bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, was the site of one of the decisive battles of the American Civil War. Tallulah is a Delta town, surrounded by some of the richest farmland in the United States. Being born in 1965, at the end of the centennial celebration and remembrance of that tragic civil war, how could I not grow up but be shaped by history and memory and myth - and hence, my name Scarlett.
Like my namesake - and probably most Southerners - I was also shaped early in life by a strong sense of family, especially family stories and traditions. I was early on drawn to photography as a way to capture and express those family feelings. I was inspired particularly by a beautiful photographic portrait of my paternal grandmother, taken in the late 1920s. My grandmother was the primary calming influence during my adolescence, and her portrait spoke to me of a world of familial connection that could also be aesthetically beautiful.