Monday, January 12, 2009

Julie Moos And The Hat Ladies

In 2000-2001, artist and photographer, Julie Moos used a 4 x 5 camera to photograph the Hat Ladies of Birmingham's New Pilgrim Baptist Church.

In the African American community there has long been a tradition of wearing only your best Sunday finery to church. This finery includes hats of all styles and colors. These women wear their clothing with regal majesty and pride. Moos captured that essence in each of her 18 color portraits.

Mrs. Forman and Mrs. Daniels

The large format images (40 x 52 inch prints) were on display in a solo exhibition at the Birmingham Museum of Art in 2002. Since then they have been shown at various other galleries around the country.

Mrs. Rose and Mrs. Pleasant

I attended this show and have to tell you it was fascinating. Each woman's personality and her relationship to the woman she was paired with seemed to jump right out of the photo and into the room. I only wish I could have found all 18 images for you to compare and admire.

Check out this article for more information about the fabulous Hat Ladies.


  1. What a fascinating project! I would've loved to see this exhibit, and a gallery showcasing the head-finery would be pretty cool too!

  2. In a way, I wish I went to a church where dressing in finery was the norm. It's pretty casual here in rural northern California.

  3. My Southern Grandmother always said;When you go to the house of the Lord, you wear your finest clothes, a child of the king should dress like a child of the king!The African-American church
    has kept that tradition and I say; Good for Them ! Great photos!

  4. I love this post! The personalities of these women are very evident. What a fascinating project. Thank you for sharing - you just never know what you are going to see and learn out here in the world of blog.

  5. That was fascinating! And such wonderful photos. I do miss seeing ladies in hats and gloves with freshly pressed dresses. Those where the days ... :o) ♥ ∞

  6. it must have been a very interesting exhibition. all that hat love in one room. wow!

    this was a very fun post!!

  7. Amazing photos - warm and likeable as well as artistic! You really feel you know quite a lot about each of the ladies' personalities, just from the one photo.

  8. I've posted my interview with you!

  9. Love seein these photos. I wish I could see the enitre exhibit.

    I bought a book for a friend of mine "Crowns" I think was the name of it. Two men took pictures of black ladies in their hats. It is a facinating book.

  10. Sorry to hear that the squirrel has not left the building!
    I love the picture of the hat ladies. I sometimes wish I came from the 40's when gloves, hats and scarves were the norm. We are a nation of casual dress.
    Good luck getting rid of your squirrel, I can not even imagine the noise he/she must make.

  11. I've never heard of this project. How fascinating. Thanks for sharing. :)

  12. Neat pictures! Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog. I think I have pretty much finished my project. I was getting so sick of counting and adding over and over. It's so good to be back. I must catch up on everyone's posts. I have missed you so much. I look at your Christmas card and it always makes me smile.

  13. Oh my! I've missed so many of your posts, Steviewren! I have been scheduling auto posts at my blog, but that doesn't help me answer comments or read my favorite blogs.

    Lots going on at my house and with my family but hopefuly all will quiet down soon.

    Did you get my e-mail about NYC for your daughter?

    I looked at all I missed here --love your children's photo from a long ago Christmas, the great books your grand daughters read, your wonderful doodles at work,& your interview!
    A friend of mine had a squirrel in her attic once. She captured him with a "have a heart" trap using peanut butter as the lure and drove him to a far away park so he wouldn't find his way back to her house. They do like to go indoors to nest. Good luck with your "Rocky" the Bullwinkle & Rocky cartoon!

    PS If you ever get a chance to see an opera, try to go to see "La Boheme" The music is beautiful and the story is so touching.

  14. Oh, and I loved the "church ladies" photographs!

  15. This was the greatest post! We just don't dress up to go to church anymore, do we? I remember always looking for the lady with the big hat with feathers and the red lipstick in church when I was a little girl. I thought she looked like a parrot!

  16. Hi steviewren - just catching up with your posts! - I know I've seen some of these great photos somewhere - either in a book or museum - and I loved them too...wonderful portraits...Love that last flower hat!

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