M.J. Alexander with noodlers, Alfalfa County, Oklahoma.
M.J. Alexander was raised by practical people in a small town on the edge of the Delirium Wilderness near the Canadian border. Her writing and photography explore the American West as both destination and home, reflecting on the line between truth and fiction, the bond between generations, the sacred, the fleeting, and the near-forgotten.
A veteran of newsrooms ranging from community newspapers on the Great Lakes to The Associated Press in New York City, she taught at New York University and was chair of the journalism department at St. Michael’s College in Vermont before moving to Oklahoma City in 1998.
Her body of work straddles the intersection of the lyrical arts, reportage, poetry and imagery, creating portraits of the people and places of the Great Plains and American West. Her words and images have been published by The New York Times and Time magazine, featured in performances here and abroad, and highlighted in more than two dozen solo exhibitions, including a 2018 European debut at London’s Crypt Gallery.
A 2019 inductee into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, she is author and illustrator of two fine-art books: Salt of the Red Earth: A Century of Wit and Wisdom from Oklahoma’s Elders, and Portrait of a Generation: Sons and Daughters of the Red Earth, winner of the Oklahoma Book Award.
She was the first Oklahoman featured in a solo show in the Main Gallery of the International Photography Hall of Fame, which described her as “combining the vision of an artist with the skills of a storyteller.”