Old South Images: Blog http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog en-us (C)2016 T. Lowry Wilson/Old South Images - Watermark will not appear on printed images. (Old South Images) Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:39:00 GMT Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:39:00 GMT http://www.oldsouthimages.com/img/s/v-5/u518233636-o261995632-50.jpg Old South Images: Blog http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog 80 120 Two Images Accepted for SlowExposures 2017 http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2017/8/slow-exposures-2017-images-accepted-exhibition-rural-south FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

15TH ANNUAL SHOW FEATURES PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE RURAL SOUTH

New Albany Photographer included in 15th Annual SlowExposures Photography Festival

Fine art photographer and New Albany, MS resident T. Lowry Wilson is one of 53 photographers that have had work accepted into the annual Slow Exposures show in Georgia. SlowExposures, the big photography show in a little corner of the rural American South, opens for its fifteenth season on Thursday, September 14th through Sunday, September 17th. Although Pike County, Georgia is only an hour from Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, visitors will encounter a rolling, verdant landscape where once, "Cotton was King". To add context to the images on exhibition, the shows are displayed in late nineteenth century buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. This "sense of place" makes for an experience filled with shared, serendipitous moments and thought-provoking conversations in front of the work.

Winner of The Governor's Award for Arts and Culture in 2014, the show features work from photographers from across the United States who enter images that portray the traditions and contradictions of this region. This year’s distinguished jurors, Arnika Dawkins of Atlanta and John N. Wall from South Carolina chose 76 images, of which Wilson had two chosen, from over 800 that were entered this year. They will be on hand throughout the weekend to discuss their process in Sunday's Juror’s Talk and to present The Juror's Critique seminar on Saturday. In addition to the main show, there are several satellite shows and the PopUp Tour which will feature seven individual shows around the historic Courthouse Square in Zebulon.

Starting 15 years ago, a group of volunteers who live in this part of west central Georgia put together the inaugural event of what is now a nationally-ranked fine art photography show. The theme is always "The Rural South". They believed that photography could serve as a powerful medium to get folks to “slow down” and reconsider the value of “place” before 19th century historic buildings and landscapes were bulldozed away for subdivisions. The "slow" in SlowExposures refers to our invitation to "slow down" and experience the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of this region.  Each year profits from the show are designated for one of Pike County’s historic buildings that are being “repurposed” for 21st century use. This year there are two: The 1926 Zebulon Elementary School and R.F. Strickland’s in Concord, site of the main exhibition and the “starting” place for over 1,000 photography fans who will visit the show.

 The exhibits are open to the public for free during opening hours.  Additional fee-based events are planned as well and feature leaving professionals in the fine art photography field. The Saturday Supper takes place in the main exhibition area is is always a sell-out. For more information on times, locations, and tickets, please visit www.slowexposures.org.

(NOTE:  IMAGE ON BLOG ENTRY WAS NOT ONE CHOSEN. THE SHOW HAS ASKED THAT THOSE NOT BE REVEALED UNTIL SHOW OPENING.)

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(Old South Images) concord delta georgia mississippi mississippi delta my world old photography rural south slow slow exposures stricklands zebulon http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2017/8/slow-exposures-2017-images-accepted-exhibition-rural-south Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:54:09 GMT
Hot or Cold? So that's how it works!!! http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2017/6/hot-or-cold-so-thats-how-it-works-ruleville-mississippi-water-towers-perfect-light I'm not sure where or who or what started it but it is something that has intrigued me during my travels over the last several years. I've seen them in Virginia and Mississippi as well as a couple of other places and each time I just have to laugh.

There are variations on the theme. I've seen some painted red for the hot and blue for the cold and yet others are just plain with the words hot and cold. 

This set of water towers is in Ruleville, Mississippi.  Ruleville sits in the Mississippi Delta on Mississippi Highway 8 not too far from Dockery Farms which is just north of where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for being able to play the guitar like none other. And in case you are saying to yourself, "I thought the Devil's Crossroads was in Clarksdale," you would only be partially correct. There is a crossroads there but that isn't the one where this event supposedly happened. There is some dispute about where the crossroads really is as you can read here but the intersection of two gravel roads directly south from Dockery about 1/2 mile is the generally accepted location... unless you are from Rosedale, Mississippi.

Ruleville is a few miles from Cleveland, Mississippi, home of Delta State University and its mascot the "Fighting Okra."  Their sports teams go by the Statesmen or Lady Statesmen. You can see these water towers on the south side of Highway 8 and to the west of US Highway 49. It takes some maneuvering to figure out how to get to them but once you do is is worth it.  They are very near what appears to be an old manufacturing facility.

I've been by them numerous times over the years and invariably the light wasn't right or the sky was not very pretty or it was the wrong time of the day. I have stopped to photograph them on three separate occasions. The first two times I wasn't really happy with the images so I never showed them.  Then about two years ago I was traversing the Delta with my good friend David Wolanski from Delaware when we saw them from the highway and almost immediately knew this would be the right time.

A storm was brewing to the west and the sun was peaking occasionally through areas of light cloud cover. As we got to the location of the towers the storm clouds had moved in and the light wasn't as bright.  Suddenly, a bright area appeared where the clouds weren't as thick and the light was landing perfectly on the water towers. We both immediately got out and begin making photographs.  Within just a couple of minutes the clouds had covered the sun and it was time to move on to a different area. 

A lot of time in photography luck plays a large part with creating an image, especially when shooting landscapes.  The skill of the craft is being able to recognize those opportunities and putting yourself in a place to take advantage.

Titled simply, "Ruleville."

ruleville mississippi hot and cold water towers stormy sky perfect lightRulevilleThese twin water towers with hot and cold are in Ruleville, Mississippi. With storm clouds rolling in the light was perfect this particular day.

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(Old South Images) Mississippi Mississippi Delta david wolanski delta hot and cold photography water towers http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2017/6/hot-or-cold-so-thats-how-it-works-ruleville-mississippi-water-towers-perfect-light Wed, 21 Jun 2017 16:55:02 GMT
Jesus, Hippies, Blues.....and Gip http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2017/3/jesus-hippies-blues-and-gip-gipson-bessemer-alabama-gips-place Hidden away, in a curve, on a back street, on Paul's Hill, behind a house is Gip's Place, the only remaining juke (or jook) joint in the state of Alabama.  Since 1952 Henry (his real name is Herman) "Gip" Gipson has been providing a place for the locals and tourists alike to come and enjoy great music.  The joint, which is only open on Saturday night, is a testament to one man's dedication to provide food entertainment for everyone.

No one really knows for sure, at least from what I understand, exactly when Gip was born, and at times he has remained the same age for several  years.  When I was there this past weekend, I checked with the lady that collects the cover charge and she told me he was 97 years old but could be over 100, which I found rather amusing.

For the last few years, the City of Bessemer and Gip have had an ongoing disagreement about whether his place was legal or not.  It seems that the city wanted him to get a license to operate but to get a license you had to be in a place zoned commercial. They even went so far as to shut him down one Saturday night, even though they knew he had been operating the place the same for the previous 40 years or so.  Apparently, they came to some sort of agreement and Gip has been allowed to keep doing what he has done for all of these years, at least for now.  At 97 years old you have to wonder if they are going to tolerate it as long as he is living, figuring that he can't live much longer.  Based on what I saw this past weekend, he might outlive the current administration.

The entertainment this past Saturday night was Chris Simmons, a quite accomplished singer and guitar player that had the crowd on their feet, as he performed a mix of blues and other music.  During his performance he did a tribute to Chuck Berry, who had passed away earlier that day, of Johnny be Goode.  When the music began Gip went around and got people up to dance and then joined in, twisting almost down to his knees and back up again. From this, it was apparent that everyone loved Gip.  Whether it was your first time to visit or if you had been there 20-30 times, you were part of the family.

All throughout the place were posters, a couple even talking about Po Monkey's as well as festivals in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and several different signs that I found interesting.  The one about hippies using a different entrance was intriguing but even more so was the the car tag that spelled out "Jesus" next to the blues festival posters.

Below is a slideshow of few images of Gip's all taken with a Fujifilm X-T1, using a Rokinon 8mm lens. and Velvia simulation.  This combination produces very brilliant colors that set the mood for a place like this. 

 

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(Old South Images) Gips Place My World alabama bessemer blues fujifilm music photography rokinon x-t1 http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2017/3/jesus-hippies-blues-and-gip-gipson-bessemer-alabama-gips-place Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:02:02 GMT
A Special Christmas Card http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2017/3/a-special-christmas-card This post is a little delayed since the holidays have passed but it is still appropriate.  Enjoy.

Sometimes you meet people in life that have a profound effect on those around them.  Whether you agree with their lifestyle or not isn't relevant. What is relevant is the respect that people give to someone during their life and after they have passed.  My Christmas card for 2016 reflected on the life of one place and the man responsible for helping restore hope to the Mississippi Delta.

I first met Willie a little over five years ago when I went to his place, "Po' Monkey's Lounge," near Merigold, Mississippi, also the home of McCarty's Pottery, with my friend Cort Anderson. We were just riding by earlier in the afternoon when he came driving up in his pickup and got out, which I later found out was also his home that he had occupied for years. He invited us in, and it was really quite amazing to experience a one on one conversation with someone so iconic as Willie.  

A  year or so later, I had the opportunity to go back to Po' Monkeys while Al Jazeera America was filming a documentary on the Blues.  I paid the cover charge and walked into the place I had visited only a year earlier. Being able to see it at night and full of folks from all over compared to the first one on one visit I had with Willie a year earlier was quite amazing.  Al "Big A" Sherrod was playing that evening and believe me, he put on a show that included making a guitar do things that I didn't think were possible.

Willie converted the old sharecropper's shack in 1963 to what would become the most iconic place in the Mississippi Delta.  The front was three rooms; one with a pool table and the other two were filled with random chairs and tables.  When I was there for the Al Jazeera documentary, I ended up sitting on what I found out was a bench seatt out of a mini van, which was probably the most comfortable seat in the place.

The stories about Po' Monkey are legendary.  His assortment of suits (supposedly he had over 100) and other various pieces of clothing and costumes where notable. He might come out in one color suit and within a few minutes be dressed in one of a totally different color.  He had an assortment of wigs including a long blond one that reminded me of Dolly Parton.  And then there was the infamous apron. If he ever came out wearing that, the surprise was....was... well, I'll leave that to your imagination.

Over the years, he had been given a lot of stuffed monkeys and they all found their place, hanging from the ceiling in different places, among other items that would be better suited for an adult audience.

I would go back to Po' Monkeys each time I was in the area, never staying longer than an hour, but long enough to sit and have a conversation with Willie. He was always welcoming and recognized me each time I came in the place and would always invite me over a beer.  Of course, I don't drink but I would always get a canned coke and sit and chat with him. 

He ruled the place with an iron fist and if things begin to get rowdy (which I only experienced once) he would walk up to the offender and quietly have them escorted out of the building by one of his people that seemed to always blend in with the remainder of the crowd.

People from all walks of life and from all over the world have been to the lounge. The night I was there for the Al Jazeera project, I met people from Texas, Washington DC and Belgium, all there for one purpose and that was to experience the hospitality of Willie and Mississippi.

On July 14 of this year, it all came to and end with the passing of Mr. Seaberry. He was found deceased in his bedroom after suffering an apparent heart attack.

 

Willie "Po' Monkey" Seaberry

August 24, 1940 - July 14, 2016

Rest in Peace

Willie Po Monkey Seaberry at his pool tableWillie at the Pool TableThis is one of my favorite photos of Mr. Seaberry. He graciously allowed me go photograph him each time I visited Willie in this fake hair visorWillie with his fake hair visorYou never knew what you would find Willie wearing. This particular night it was a visor that made it look like he had hair. I didn't have anything to light it with so I used the LED light on my iPhone.

Po Monkey's Lounge in Merigold, MississippiMerry Christmas from Po Monkey'sThis was the front of this year's Christmas card. It was done one evening when the crowd had thinned slightly. If you look really close you can see the shadow of someone walking in the photo.

 

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(Old South Images) Mississippi Mississippi Delta Po Monkey delta photography http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2017/3/a-special-christmas-card Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:03:51 GMT
Photographs Chosen for Exhibition - George A Spiva Center for the Arts, Joplin, Missouri http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2016/4/photographs-chosen-for-exhibition-george-a-spiva-center-for-the-arts-joplin-missouri PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE USE
DATE: April 30, 2016

WILSON PHOTOGRAPHS ACCEPTED FOR MISSOURI EXHIBITION

       Two photographs from New Albany fine art photographer and Tallahatchie Arts Council member T. Lowry Wilson have been accepted for exhibition at the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, Missouri during the month of May 2016. The exhibition is part of the Four States Photography Enthusiasts (FSPE) and features artists from the states of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas as well as members of FSPE from other states, including Mississippi.  This is the first time FSPE has sponsored the exhibition and there are plans to make it an annual event.  
       Wilson submitted photographs to the juror panel and the two that were accepted are part of his Mississippi Delta series entitled “Dissonant Harmony.”  The images chosen feature typical Delta scenes and are printed in B&W using a special carbon pigment process.

       Wilson is a native of southwest Virginia but has called Mississippi home since moving to the Tupelo area at the age of four.  He has been involved in various aspects of the art of photography since the age of fourteen, including owning a full time portrait and wedding studio.  His website Old South Images (http://www.oldsouthimages.com) is a showcase of his current work.   
        In addition to this exhibition at the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, Wilson’s work has been included in juried exhibitions at the Meridian Museum of Art and at the Gum Tree Museum.  He has won numerous awards including First Place ribbons in the photography category at the Gumtree Festival, Jerry Brown Festival of the Arts and the People’s Choice Exhibition at the Meridian Museum of Art.  His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Union County Heritage Museum and the Corinth Artist Guild and in January of 2011, he was one of two artists featured in an exhibition at the Meridian Museum of Art in Meridian, MS.  
        In the Spring of 2011, he was included as part of a group of photographers in Light Leaks magazine, which is a publication dedicated to the art of photography using toy or primitive cameras.   His image, “Alabama Country Store,” was featured in the March/April 2012 issue of Alabama Magazine as well as for an album cover for a country group from Texas.
His photographs have been featured in Mississippi Magazine and selected as cover art for a regional phone directory.  His works also hang in personal and corporate collections in England, Canada and the United States from California to Delaware, including that of a Fortune 500 company.
        Wilson has taught classes in studio lighting, Photoshop, and business practices for photographers and has led photographic tours on Route 66 in Kansas and Oklahoma.  For the past six years, he has been putting together a project featuring a series of images entitled, “Dissonant Harmony,” which explore the paradox that exists with the land and the people of the Mississippi Delta.  
In addition to the “Dissonant Harmony” project, his plans include a book of B&W photography that is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2016. 
        For more information including the ability to contact Wilson directly, please refer to his website:  http://www.oldsouthimages.com.

Below are the two images accepted for exhibition.

wash day clothes on line outside old shackWash DayOne of two images accepted for exhibition at the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, MO. This photo is from the Mississippi Delta and is a typical Delta Scene. stop sign shotgun bullet mississippi deltaStop!One of two images accepted for exhibition at the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, MO. This photo is from the Mississippi Delta and is a typical Delta Scene.
 

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(Old South Images) Mississippi Mississippi Delta My World art arts clothes delta old photography shack spiva stop sign wash wash line http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2016/4/photographs-chosen-for-exhibition-george-a-spiva-center-for-the-arts-joplin-missouri Fri, 29 Apr 2016 19:21:13 GMT
Celebrating Christmas...Simply: A Christmas Card from Rodney, Mississippi http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/12/celebrating-christmas-simply-a-christmas-card-from-rodney-mississippi Every year or so I like to create a special Christmas Card to send to my clients, family and closest friends. I usually have around 15-20 cards that I make available to those that request them.  The only problem is I only have a limited number and I always get more requests than I have cards available.  Unfortunately, this means that some that request a card won't get one. I try to not send to the same group of people each year so more can enjoy the cards.

Each year the card features one of my photographs with a little Christmas magic.  Since I only send out 75 cards, I take the time to sign and number each individual card. Those lucky enough to receive the cards seem to appreciate them.

This years card featured the old piano at Rodney Presbyterian Church in Rodney, Mississippi.  For those of you that may not know, Rodney was once a bustling river town but due to a change of course in the Mississippi River around 1870 there isn't much left now but a few crumbling ruins.

The inside of the card reads:

 

CHRISTMAS IS THE TIME TO SHARE LOVE AND JOY.

A TIME TO RECOLLECT BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES

IT IS A TIME TO SIT BACK AND RELAX.

ENJOY THE CHRISTMAS SEASON...

...SIMPLY

MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

Here are the images that appeared on the front and back of the card. Click each to see larger.

 

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(Old South Images) Mississippi Rodney Rodney Presbyterian Church card christmas church old photography piano http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/12/celebrating-christmas-simply-a-christmas-card-from-rodney-mississippi Wed, 23 Dec 2015 19:57:36 GMT
It's fall and time to get out and shoot some beautiful images http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/10/its-fall-and-time-to-get-out-and-shoot-some-beautiful-images It is my favorite time of the year and time to shoot some new fall images.  This one below is from Tishomingo State Park from a couple of years ago when I was traveling with Dave Wolanski.  I'll be adding some more fall images over the next couple of weeks.

Tishomingo Swinging BridgeTishomingo Swinging Bridge

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(Old South Images) Mississippi My World Natchez Trace bridge fall photography swinging bridge tishomingo http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/10/its-fall-and-time-to-get-out-and-shoot-some-beautiful-images Sun, 11 Oct 2015 21:56:47 GMT
The Fujifilm X Camera System: A Cure for what Ailed Me http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/10/goodbye-canon-hello-fujifilm-x-camera-system Over the last forty years or so that I've been involved in photography I have photographed with a lot of various cameras including those by Mamiya, Bronica, Hasselblad, Nikon, Ricoh and Canon as well as a few other strange but wonderful devices such as the Holga and Kodak Brownie Hawkeye.  I found each system to have its positive and negative points and each of them can create wonderful photographs but it wasn't until I got my hands on a Fujifilm X-E1 back in December of 2012 did I realize what I had been missing for many years since the onslaught of digital cameras.

I had shot with the older Fuji S2 and S3 digital cameras a few years ago which was my first real foray into digital photography after having been a film shooter for almost thirty years but for whatever reason Fuji had gotten out of the digital business after they introduced the S5, which I think was nothing more than a rebranded Nikon system with a few Fuji design changes.

In 2012 I had been hearing about the new line of Fuji digital cameras so I decided to rent one from the guys at LensRentals in Memphis, Tennessee. I anxiously awaited the arrival of the X-E1 and the 35mm F1.4 lens so I could just see what all the hype was about. The camera arrived on a Friday afternoon and I would have all weekend to check it out and shoot a few things. Needless to say, it was the first time in a long time that I had seen images with that kind of color come straight from the camera.

What is it about the Fuji X system of cameras that has created such a large following?  Let me attempt to explain.

As I mentioned I've shot with all sorts of cameras during my photography career and for many years everything was totally film based. I loved shooting with film and have always felt that digital left something to be desired. It seems that digital did not have the dynamic range of film and as a result images with real bright highlights and darker shadows lost detail. And to make matters worse the images had to be post processed in an attempt to bring back some of what was missing but again there was the lack of dynamic range which means the detail wasn't there to bring back in most cases.

I have been heavily invested in the Canon system of cameras for over 30 years, beginning with the A1 and original EOS film cameras and continuing with the EOS digital cameras including my last Canon purchase, the 5D Mk II. I've shot with plenty of L series lenses, my first being an old 80-200 from the late 1980s. To make a change to anything other than Canon would involve some serious soul searching and an investment in a completely new system, one that I was willing to make.

It took me about three years to finally make the commitment to change to Fuji. The final straw was when I rented an X-T1 from LensRentals for a weekend back in November of 2014. As I traveled throughout the Mississippi Delta that weekend I found myself reaching for the X-T1 much more often than I did the 5d Mk II. I had to force myself to shoot with the Canon because I really wanted to see a valid comparison between the two systems. What I discovered would cure what ailed me.

I discovered....

  • Images with the Fuji had a different look about them. The color from the camera is some of the best I've ever seen.
  • The dynamic range of the X-Trans sensor is crazy good. I intentionally pushed it to its limits and it performed wonderfully.
  • The camera looks and feels like an old film camera. The controls make sense and the things you use the most are right in front of you.
  • The weight of the camera with the battery grip is considerably less than what I was shooting with.
  • The images were beautiful and didn't compare to those from the 5D Mk II, at least not in my opinion.

And finally, there is something else that you might not understand unless you use the Fuji system for a few days....

......the camera has soul.

It has a connection that I never felt with the Canon and has brought be back to a point that I enjoy going out and shooting again.

I sold most of my Canon gear.

I am slowly building my system as I figure out exactly which lenses, etc., that I need. So far I have the X-T1 with battery grip and the 14mm F2.8, 18-55mm F2.8-4 and 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 lenses. I have also adapted my old Zeiss/Contax 100mm F2 that I had converted for the Canon EOS system to work with the Fuji. I will be adding a couple of more lenses and another body within the next six months or so.

I rent an X-E2 occasionally so I won't have to change lenses as often. It has the same sensor as the X-T1 and has a nostalgic feel.

Below are a couple of images photographed with the X-E2 and the 14mm F2.8 lens. Yes, they have been post processed because I wanted to see how far I could push things with the RAW files from the camera.  As you can see the details and color really stand out.

old bovina railroad trestle crossing the big black river with painted confederate flagConfederate Rainbow at BovinaIn rural Warren County, Mississippi the Big Black River winds it way through the hills of the local countryside. It passes under the old arch bridge near Bovina, Mississippi as it makes it way through the lowland at sunset.

This particular day a rainbow filled the sky and mimicked the arch of the bridge after a rain storm had just passed through. As as happened many times before as evidenced by the high water marks on the arches of the bridge, the rain didn't cause the river to swell which has been known to flood.

A long time fixture of this railroad trestle is the confederate flag that is painted on the inside of one of the arches. The setting sun seems to highlight that particular area of the old trestle. I've often wondered what brave soul climbed up to that spot to paint the flag. Just like in the days of Noah, the rainbow seems to be saying that everything is going to be ok as the fading light of the afternoon is focused on the flag.
the road less traveled vicksburg big black river old highwayThe Road Less TraveledAn old section of US Highway 80 in Warren County, Mississippi crosses the mighty Big Black River on an old through truss iron bridge as it snakes it way across central Mississippi near Bovina.

This section of what was originally known as the "Dixie Overland Highway" in the days before highway numbering was put into place has been bypassed by Interstate 20 and is used now by only the locals and those seeking a more scenic route.

The setting sun is reflected in the clouds that are accentuated against a blue September sky. The rain had just passed and a rainbow was overhead, a common site in Mississippi close to sunset.

 

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(Old South Images) Mississippi Mississippi Delta fuji fujifilm soul x-e2 x-t1 http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/10/goodbye-canon-hello-fujifilm-x-camera-system Sun, 11 Oct 2015 00:24:23 GMT
The Art of Seeing: Blessing or Curse? http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/7/the-art-of-seeing-a-blessing-or-curse-you-decide-being-a-one-eyed-photographer The human body is an amazing machine with an array of senses.  In elementary school we all learned what those were: seeing, hearing, smellng, tasting and touching.  As a photographer the most important of those is the ability to see both physically and metaphorically.

But what happens when you are reduced to single vision and can't physically see out of one eye due to an injury or defect in your vision?  Some would say that is a curse but I might disagree.

I've been blessed or cursed, depending on your perspective, of only having single vision.  

Yes, that is right.  I am a one eyed photographer.

Some of the problems (or blessings) that I deal with every day are things that a normal person with two good eyes doesn't even think about, such as:

  • I have very little depth perception.  When driving I have to be really aware of everything going on in front and around me at all times because I can't really tell how close the car in front of me happens to be. Fortunately, the human brain is a master of adapting and keeps me from running into something or even worse, someone.  As comfort to those that have ridden many miles with me on photo trips you need to know I have never had a wreck that was my fault.
  • I can't see in 3D.  I live in a world that is flat.  From 10 feet away, I can't tell if two items are at the same distance or one is 10 feet farther back. It creates an interesting view for sure and one I will discuss more later.  Again, the brain does what it does best and because of the different parameters it can adjust for, it tells me that one of the items is farther back even though I can't really see the difference.

For the last 3-4 years I've been researching my blessing or curse, again depending on your perspective, to try and determine exactly how I can be a photographer yet not be able to perceive depth or see a three dimensional world.

As a photographer not being able to see in three dimensions would seem like a huge detriment but the more I have read and researched I've begun to realize that perhaps I have an advantage when it comes to creating images.  A famous German writer, Hugo Von Hofmannsthal, said, "Depth must be hidden. Where? On the surface."

Although I'm sure what he said had nothing to do with photography and not having two good eyes, I think it can be applied to this discussion. The reason is because I often get told that my images have depth and with many of them it feels like you can reach in and feel the contours of the subject(s). I don't see that depth, at least not in the same way as most people with stereo vision.

While I don't have "stereo vision" I have learned to adapt to my surroundings.  If you want to understand more about what I mean simply put a patch over one eye and walk around your house. See how many things you bump into and how hard it is do simple tasks, such as cutting an apple or even worse, going down a flight of stairs. By covering one of your eyes you have basically turned off your stereo vision, or in other words, reduced your three dimensional world to a two dimensional one.

During her research Dr. Margaret S. Livingstone, Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and author of Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing, discovered a common trait among an unusual percentage of famous artists she examined. It seems that they all suffered from a lack of stereo vision, including famous American artist Andrew Wyeth. What relationship could this have? Here is what I think.

If you already see the world in two dimensions it is much easier to produce art in two dimensions. I am of the opinion as a photographer I ignore the distraction of the usual depth cues that others see because they aren't as obvious to me but as a result I am more aware of those that I can see. I would venture to guess that I see things differently than the average person; things such as linear and aerial perspective, dimensional hints from shadows, relative sizing, etc., because I depend on them more than other people in order to maneuver the world around me.  

While artists with stereo vision need to learn to see these things to produce art, those of us with stereo blindness need to understand them on a much more intimate basis to accomplish even the simplest of tasks like getting up or down a full flight of stairs, driving a car or slicing an apple.

Is only having one functional eye a curse? Yes, especially when it comes to things like 3D movies or television.

Is only having one functional eye a blessing? When it comes to photography and art it certainly seems that way.

I've been legally blind in one eye for over 50 years. I've learned to adapt both in every day tasks and it would seem (if you are to believe the research) the same with my photography.

I have a friend that I met when I was 15 or 16 years old that was born with detached retinas and has been blind since birth. In a conversation I had with him a few years ago I asked him if he could have his eyes fixed (considering the advances of technology when dealing with detached retinas) would he like to have his vision restored? He thought for a minute and said, "I've thought about it but if I were to do that I would have to learn how to read all over again.  I hate reading."  

I got to thinking about what he said and realized that he would have a lot more to learn than just how to read again.  He would have no concept of color or shapes or what people looked like. He would have to learn to navigate by seeing which would be a totally different experience.

Am I blessed or cursed?  

You can decide for yourself but for me I think learning how to go up and down stairs again might be a nightmare.

Besides, I wouldn't get to scare folks quite as much when I drive.

Two shacks in the Mississippi Delta near Belzoni MississippiDelta HomesteadThese two shacks exemplify the Delta both in earlier and later years.

 

 

 

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(Old South Images) Mississippi art blindness challenged photography seeing stereo vision http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/7/the-art-of-seeing-a-blessing-or-curse-you-decide-being-a-one-eyed-photographer Tue, 21 Jul 2015 22:24:52 GMT
Eleven Photos Chosen for new Vicksburg, Mississippi Restaurant, 10 South Rooftop Bar & Grill http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/4/press-release-new-albany-photographers-work-chosen-for-new-vicksburg-restaurant     Eleven photographs from New Albany, Mississippi, fine art photographer T. Lowry Wilson have been chosen to be a part of the décor of 10 South, a new rooftop restaurant in Vicksburg, Mississippi.


    For the past several years, Wilson has traversed the Mississippi Delta and captured it in photographs. These images attracted the attention of Nicole Gilmer of Newbreak Management, the design consultant for 10 South. Gilmer said, “Inspired by the David Cohn quote, ‘The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg,’ the design team fell in love with T. Lowry Wilson's award winning photos of the Delta and contacted the artist about featuring many of his Delta pieces in the restaurant. With a few pieces from other Mississippi photographers thrown in, the east wall of the restaurant will be as rich with the history and character of the delta as the rest of 10 South is rich with the breathtaking views of the Mississippi.”  


    Wilson’s multi-award winning photographs have been included in juried exhibitions and in several solo gallery shows. His work has been featured in Mississippi Magazine and Alabama Magazine and selected as cover art for a regional phone directory. His photographs hang in personal and corporate collections in Canada and the United States, including that of a Fortune 500 company. 
Wilson has taught classes in studio lighting, Photoshop, and business practices for photographers, and in the past few years has led photographic tours on Route 66 in Kansas and Oklahoma as well as in the Mississippi Delta. For more information or to contact Wilson directly, visit his website at http://www.oldsouthimages.com.


    The restaurant sits atop the 10 story First National Bank Building, which was constructed in 1903 as the tallest building in the South. This cornerstone of downtown Vicksburg was purchased and renovated by Tim Cantwell with interior finishes by Stephani Hardy Designs. Trustmark Bank’s regional headquarters occupies the ground floor, and loft-style apartments (http://www.loftsatFNV.com) are located above. The previously unused rooftop has now been converted into an outdoor rooftop bar and grill with sweeping views of the Mississippi River and the city of Vicksburg. The co-owner of "10 South Rooftop Bar and Grill" is award winning chef Jay Parmegiani who also owns and operates ROCA in Vicksburg.  10 South features southern cuisine "with a twist” and is scheduled to open the end of May 2015. More information is available at the restaurant website, http://www.10southrooftop.com.
 

Here are a few of the photographs chosen for the restaurant.

Old blue chevrolet truck in Mississippi Delta at Shackup InnDelta BlueA couple of years ago I was in the Delta with my good friend Dave Wolanski. Dave is from Delaware but comes down this way in the fall and we go shooting... somewhere... usually in the Delta. This particular year we stayed at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, MS. This old truck sits in the yard at the Inn and I got up early in the morning to photograph it. The light wasn't right so I just put the camera back in my bag and we went exploring. The next morning I got up early again to see if I could get a good image of the old truck. Never would I have expected to have the light just perfect... the sunrise and clouds in perfect position. Almost as if I had ordered it the day before. Po' Monkey's Lounge - Merigold, MississippiPo' Monkey's Lounge - Merigold, MississippiOne of the oldest remaining juke joints in the Mississippi Delta is Po Monkey's Lounge near Merigold, Mississippi. It is an iconic stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail.

Po Monkey's has been owned and operated by Willie "Po Monkey" Seaberry for over 55 years and is only open on Thursday night. Mr. Seaberry says that Thursday night is "family night" and he wants to keep it safe for everyone. Beer is served to those of legal age and you can bring in your own liquor. A DJ spins the music each night it is open and on special occasions live blues music can be heard booming from within.

The old converted sharecropper shack with its American flag proudly waving under a beautiful blue sky with a wisp of clouds sits at the edge of a expansive cotton field. There are tons of stuffed monkeys hanging from the ceiling, a testament from those that have visited over the years. Even the signs hanging on the front tell a unique story.
Cathead at the Blue FrontCathead at the Blue FrontCathead juke box at the Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, Mississippi. Jimmy "Duck" Holmes has owned the place for the last several decades and hosts some of the best blues music in the area.     Midnight Gin CompanyMidnight Gin CompanyCotton gins can be found all across the Mississippi Delta but most of them are no longer active since cotton doesn't hold the place of prominence it once did. This gin at Midnight, Mississippi is one of the few active ones remaining and has been around for decades.

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(Old South Images) 10 Mississippi Mississippi Delta blues delta mississippi photography south vicksburg http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/4/press-release-new-albany-photographers-work-chosen-for-new-vicksburg-restaurant Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:50:10 GMT
A Mississippi Delta Landmark - Po Monkeys Lounge Merigold, Mississippi http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/4/a-mississippi-delta-landmark-po-monkeys-lounge-merigold-mississippi The music is kicking....

The monkeys hanging from the ceiling are swaying.....as are some of the patrons.....

....and Willie "Po Monkey" Seaberry is doing what he loves and has done for over 50 years....

...hosting a group of locals and others from all over the world at his place, Po Monkey's Lounge in the Mississippi Delta.

Po Monkeys Lounge or Juke Joint, featured on the Mississippi Blues Trail, sits at the edge of a cotton field on a dirt road just outside of Merigold, Mississippi.  Merigold is one of those Delta towns that was bypassed by the new Highway 61 several years ago.  Not only is it famous because of Po Monkey's it is also the home of McCarty's Pottery which is known for its trademarked "river," a small black wavy line representing the Mississippi River.

Every time I am in the area I go by Po Monkeys to shoot a few photographs.  If I'm there on a Thursday night then I always pay the $5 cover and go inside to rub shoulders with those that frequent the place and to also chat with Po Monkey himself.  Mr. Seaberry is quite the character and each time I've been he has been in a different "costume," if you want to call it that.  Those costumes along with quite a selection of suits, wigs and other accessories make him one of the most interesting individuals I have ever met.

Back in November of 2014 I had a group of friends from all over the country down so I could show them the allure of the people, music and food of the Mississippi Delta.  Our accommodations for the weekend were at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi.  In addition to sampling the music and food of the Delta, I took a group on a photo tour of the "most Southern place on earth."   Cort Anderson a photographer friend from Kansas and one of the best black and white photographers I know led another group in the depths of the Delta.

The first time Cort came down to shoot in the Delta I took him to Po Monkeys.  Luckily for us, Mr. Seaberry had just arrived from a day of working on the farms and was getting ready to open the place for the evening.  He invited us in and gave us the grand tour.  Another friend from Delaware, Dave Wolanski comes down at least once a year to go with me into the Delta to photograph.  He was here in 2012 for a weekend and of course, I had to take him to Po Monkey's. The place looks totally different than it does at night.

The photograph below was made on the 2012 trip with Dave.  The signs on the front of the building are just as well known as the joint itself. Click the photo to see it larger.

If you are ever in the Mississippi Delta and are close to Merigold, Mississippi, make plans to stop and pay Monkey a visit. It will be an experience you will never forget.

I promise.  Right Dave?

Po' Monkey's Lounge - Merigold, MississippiPo' Monkey's Lounge - Merigold, MississippiOne of the oldest remaining juke joints in the Mississippi Delta is Po Monkey's Lounge near Merigold, Mississippi. It is an iconic stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail.

Po Monkey's has been owned and operated by Willie "Po Monkey" Seaberry for over 55 years and is only open on Thursday night. Mr. Seaberry says that Thursday night is "family night" and he wants to keep it safe for everyone. Beer is served to those of legal age and you can bring in your own liquor. A DJ spins the music each night it is open and on special occasions live blues music can be heard booming from within.

The old converted sharecropper shack with its American flag proudly waving under a beautiful blue sky with a wisp of clouds sits at the edge of a expansive cotton field. There are tons of stuffed monkeys hanging from the ceiling, a testament from those that have visited over the years. Even the signs hanging on the front tell a unique story.

 

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(Old South Images) .Merigold McCartys Pottery Mississippi Mississippi Delta Po Monkeys blues delta mississippi blues trail music photography http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/4/a-mississippi-delta-landmark-po-monkeys-lounge-merigold-mississippi Fri, 03 Apr 2015 21:42:11 GMT
Let's Go to the Woods - A Lesson from Walden Pond - Learning to Live Deliberately http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/1/lets-go-to-the-woods-a-lesson-from-walden-pond-learning-to-live-deliberately  

Lets go to the woods to Walden Pond and learn to live deliberatelyLet's Go to the Woods - Garden of EdenA perfect image that symbolizes the concept of going to the woods and learning to live deliberately.

I receive an email newsletter once a week from Dan Miller, author of the very popular, "48 Days to the Work You Love," and several other books.   A few years ago the newsletter had a piece centered on Henry David Thoreau and his decision at age 28 to be a non-conformist, which changed literature as we know it today.  You see, he made the decision to build a small house on Walden pond where he devoted him self to writing and his journey for the simple life.  This Walden journey began with, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...."
 
I often wonder how many of us really wish for the simple life but are unwilling to make the sacrifices that it requires even though those sacrifices often lead to a more productive and fruitful life blessed with plenty of everything we need and more.    We spend our lives chasing the dollar in order to find happiness only to find that happiness isn't really there.  We chase and gather... chase and gather... chase and gather..... and in the end all we have is a bunch of stuff.  Sure, stuff can make our lives easier but does it really provide us what we need?
 
Stuff is one of those things that can be very deceptive.  Dave Ramsey refers to the accumulation of stuff as "stuffitis" and we tend to think that the more stuff we have the higher we will be on the pecking order for friends and acquaintances.  We struggle to keep up with the neighbors and strive for their approval of what we are doing.  There is only one thing wrong with this.  Accumulation of "stuff" usually comes with a sacrifice in the form of debt and what goes along with it.   Usually, those that you are trying to keep up with are doing the same thing and are broke and wish they could get out of the cycle.
 
Breaking the cycle is easy.  You just have to disembark from the train at the next stop and make the decision that you want to change the way you live.  You have to decide to quit pursuing things that don't really matter in the end but instead focus on things that provide long term fulfillment.
 
I have a good friend that I have watched over the last few years after meeting through an online community of which I was a member.  I frequent her blog and wait anxiously to read about the next adventure in her life and over the last few years, there have been several of those adventures.  
 
I remember when she got married to the love of her life.  I remember the struggles she had with trying to have a child and everything her and her husband went through.  I remember reading about the joy she felt when she finally conceived and the hope that everything would be ok.  I remember when the baby was born and most of all, I remember holding her baby and "dancing" with him at an event where we were both in attendance.   You see, I have taken note of the events in their lives because I have been impressed by her connection with family and how that is the most important thing to her.   Like Thoreau, she wanted something that meant the most to her and was willing to give up a business that she dearly loved in order to do so.  She lived deliberately, and she and her husband have recently again been blessed with a beautiful daughter. You can read more about her story on her blog.
 
I wonder how many of us are secretly just like Thoreau and want to go to the woods......
 
I wonder how many of us would even consider living deliberately........
 
I wonder even more how many would be willing to make that sacrifice.........
 
Gandhi said, "There is more to life than simply increasing it's speed." 
 
Is your speed increasing with little or no satisfaction in life?
 
Maybe it is time to go to the woods........

 

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(Old South Images) 48 days Dave Ramsey Mississippi Thoreau Walden Pond living woods http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/1/lets-go-to-the-woods-a-lesson-from-walden-pond-learning-to-live-deliberately Sat, 31 Jan 2015 19:13:40 GMT
I lost a friend late last year - RIP Pleasant Green http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/1/i-lost-a-friend-late-last-year-rip-pleasant-green I've lost a friend.

Not just any friend but a friend that I cherished and adored.

One of those "once in a lifetime" friends that never complained but always seemed to know when I needed comfort.  

A friend that withstood the storms of life yet kept shining until the final day; one whose very bones creaked as age began to take its toll.

A friend that will never return.....

That friend was Pleasant Green.

Pleasant Green wasn't just any friend. I remember the first time I saw her and knew then that something about her was special.

Just who was Pleasant Green?

Pleasant Green was the Methodist Episcopal church that had shared the Mississippi Delta landscape with Mont Helena plantation since it was first constructed in 1878. In the late afternoon on Friday, October 24 she took her last breath and collapsed in a pile of lumber, bricks and glass completely entombing the old piano that was the last remaining thing in the old church. Nature and time had won the battle.

There are many old churches throughout the Mississippi Delta that have suffered the same fate as Pleasant Green but none of them were probably loved as much. She was the focus of the lens of many photographers, both outside and inside and while I can't be for sure, I think we all pretty much felt the same way when it finally happened. I know my friend Dave Wolanski felt the same way as he wrote in this blog post.  Another photographer that photographed the old church was my friend Michael Foster using an old wet plate process that made the photos look timeless.

I've been photographing the old church for several years and have various images.  Some were made while in a driving rainstorm and others were done on overcast or sunny days.  Regardless of when I made an image I always felt a connection to the old church.  Each time I returned I could tell it was leaning more and more and when I was there the last time before it fell, I told the guy I was with, Tom Rankin, that it couldn't last much longer.  The amount of lean in the old building had increased significantly in just a few short months.

For years she has stood with that lean and earlier last year I penned a couple of blog posts about the old church entitled "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" and "Returning to Nature - The Church at Mt Helena Plantation."

When I was back at the old church in November 2014, I was overwhelmed by the emotions I felt as I stood propped against the tree that was at the front corner of the church. I couldn't believe the church was gone, and the tear in the corner of my eye reflected as much.  

What will happen to the remains of the old church?  I'm sure it will eventually be hauled off or burned or perhaps both and the property reclaimed for agriculture but regardless of the final disposition I will always have the memories in my mind and in photographs.

Here are some of the images I have done over the years as well as a one from Tom Rankin who is known for his images of the Mississippi Delta landscape using a large format camera, which you will see in one of the images below.  There is another image by my friend Cort Anderson who visits the Delta a couple of times a year.

Enjoy the below images.  Any comments would be appreciated.

Church at Mont HelenaChurch at Mont Helena - May 2012The old Pleasant Green Methodist Episcopal Church at Mt Helena Plantation near Rolling Fork, Mississippi Pleasant Green Methodist Episcopal Church in the RainPleasant Green Methodist Episcopal Church in the Rain - November 2013The old Methodist Episcopal church at Mt Helena Plantation in a driving rainstorm. Delta PianoPleasant Green Methodist Episcopal Church

Pleasant Green Church from the rear.From the rear - June 2014The old church from the rear.

This next image has my copyright on it because the website software does that by default but it isn't my image. The image was made by Tom Rankin in June 2014 while we were shooting the old church.  He owns all rights to the photo and has graciously allowed me to use it as part of this blog post.

Pleasant Green Methodist Episcopal Church.Pleasant Green Methodist Episcopal Church by Tom Rankin - June 2014Large format photograph made by Tom Rankin in June of 2014 of the Pleasant Green Methodist Episcopal Church at Mt Helena Plantation near Rolling Fork, MS. Tom at his best setting up to shoot the shot above.

Shooting Pleasant Green with Tom HardinShooting Pleasant Green with Tom HardinTom Hardin setting up his large format 8 x 10 view camera to photograph the old church. The below image is from my friend Cort Anderson.  Even though my copyright appears on the image the photo is owned by him and he has allowed me to use them on the blog.

Inside of the old church. Photo ©Cort Anderson

And finally, one of my favorite images, the old piano that was inside the old church.

Old Piano in the Church at Mt Helena PlantationOld Piano in the Church at Mt Helena PlantationA favorite image of mine, the piano in the Pleasant Green Methodist Episcopal church from June 2011.

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(Old South Images) Cort Anderson Large format photography Mississippi Mississippi Delta Mt Helena My World Tom Rankin church http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2015/1/i-lost-a-friend-late-last-year-rip-pleasant-green Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:29:24 GMT
Rolling Fork, Mississippi Landmark - The Big Red Barn - Gone Forever http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/8/rolling-fork-mississippi-landmark-the-big-red-barn-gone-forever "Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

During my travels while photographing the back roads of Mississippi I often come across places that for whatever reason seem to attract people to them.  It might be the significance of where something is located or it might be that it triggers a particular memory or in my case it is something that I am drawn to photograph.  One of those places was the large and amazing structure affectionately known as the Big Red Barn in Rolling Fork, Mississippi.

I've learned that when you see something that would make an interesting photograph there is no time like the present to take advantage of what is in front of you because you may never have that chance again.  The Big Red Barn is one of those instances.

In January of 2007 I took the scenic route from Jackson, Mississippi by traveling over to Vicksburg and riding up Highway 61 as far as I could go before being forced by darkness to continue my trip home to New Albany.  As I approached where the old highway went to the left into downtown Rolling Fork, I was going to turn but then noticed a rather large barn right in front of me.   This was the first time I had ever been in this area and to see this large structure with the two grain silos rising above the flat land of the Mississippi Delta was quite amazing.

I photographed it from a couple of different angles since I didn't know when I would be back again.  In 2011 I was back in the area and decided to get an updated photo since it was a different time of the year and I had heard that the US Corps of Engineers had purchased the property for some sort of educational use.  Imagine my shock when discovering this was all that was left of the barn that had survived the sometimes nasty weather of the Mississippi Delta.I would later learn that high winds that occurred in late April would contribute to the demise of this landmark.

Big Red Barn, Rolling Fork, MS - June 2011

As in Bresson's quote at the beginning of this post, the Big Red Barn has vanished forever and it is never coming back.   The damage was so extensive that the only solution was to finish tearing it down and disposing of the debris.  The only thing remaining marking the location are the two silos you see at the back left of the photograph.

Fortunately, in 2007 I stopped and took the time to photograph the barn.  It almost didn't happen because I was running short of time and told myself, "You will be back in the area again and then you can photograph it."  I learned from this that if you find something you want to photograph, do it because there may not be a next time.

Here is the barn as photographed in January 2007.  Of course, I've added a few special touches so it would be as I thought it would look with a stormy sky.   It is titled appropriately, "Apocalypse."  Prints are available.

Big Red Barn, Rolling Fork, MississippiApocalypseBig Red Barn, Rolling Fork, MS - January 2007

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(Old South Images) Mississippi Mississippi Delta barn big barn big red barn photography red rolling fork http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/8/rolling-fork-mississippi-landmark-the-big-red-barn-gone-forever Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:07:58 GMT
Out With the Old and In with the New - A Time of New Beginnings http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/7/out-with-the-old-and-in-with-the-new-a-time-of-new-beginnings As a visual artist, I often find myself questioning the work I do, and over the years I've discovered that if you fail to question your work then you never truly grow with your art because the tendency is become apathetic and to become stagnant.  Many times situations in life cause us to effect change in our work and yet at other times, the need to create something very different than the usual is the driving force.  Sometimes.... it just happens and we never know for sure why.  Such as my new gallery series.  

Click image to see it larger.

I recently read an article in GuidePosts magazine written by Clyde Butcher.  Butcher, in case you don't know, is considered the "Ansel Adams of the Everglades" because of his work with a large format camera photographing the Florida swamps and other areas of the country.  

Butcher and his wife lost their son to a car accident almost 30 years ago and in order to heal, he basically dumped thousands of dollars of prints and years of work and stood by as he watched the bulldozer grind them into the earth and cover them with layers of soil.  You can read the article "Healing My Grief" for more details as to why he did what he did.  The result of his making the decision to destroy years of work and begin anew was the creation of an entirely new body of work featuring large black and white prints that are collected by people from all over the world.

As I sit here and reflect on that article this cool Sunday morning, I realize that I've done something similar with my work although not because of something as tragic as losing a family member but by losing a part of my life that I dearly miss and will forever.  For years I was a portrait and wedding photographer, photographing everything from babies to the elderly and everything in between as well as newspaper and commercial work, from football games to heavy industrial machinery.  I still have a lot of the negatives and some prints remaining from that season of my life but they are packed away and most of it hasn't been touched for over 15 years.  I doubt most of it will be touched for the next 15 years except to move it around when it gets in my way.  I hold on to it because it represents a time in my life that gave me a lot happiness while at the same time causing a certain amount of anguish that goes along with any small business.

After I closed the studio I put down my cameras for 7-8 years and literally didn't touch one except for one year on vacation, and even then the unfinished roll of film stayed in the camera - forgotten - until I discovered it about a year or so ago when I was working to get my old cameras functioning to shoot some film again. I sent the roll to be processed, scanned and printed and when it came back from the lab it was refreshing to feel the negatives and have the aroma of fresh prints stimulate the senses when you first open the package to hold them in your hands.  

After I got back into photography in 2006 I made the decision to spend most of my time photographing the world around me and limiting the amount of work with photographing people.  In the last couple of years I've noticed my work changing and I'm not sure I totally know why other than I now photograph with "intent" if that makes any sense at all.  The word "Intent" is defined as resolved or determined to do something but as an artist I think it means to be more focused as well as determined.  That has been my goal the last few months and I've been seeing some dramatic changes in what I do.

I began work on a series of images from the Mississippi Delta a few years ago with the intentions of showing the beauty of what has been described as "the most Southern place on earth" but as I've spent more and more time in the Delta I have begun noticing subtle things that I didn't realize.  Things that embody the spirit of this wonderful yet strange part of the world.  Not just a place that is filled with objects and things from the past but people that live and work together in an effort to create a better life for themselves.  Rich, poor, impoverished and broken, more accurately described as a "dissonant harmony" if that makes any sense. 

As I've photographed in the Delta I've found myself with more intent.  Much like Butcher seeing another side of the swamp land, I've discovered another side of the Delta that was hiding in plain site. I still want to show the beauty of the Delta but it wasn't until I realized that the beauty is in what has always existed and how it fits with the culture and life of those that inhabit the place. 

I am beginning a new series of images that I think exemplify exactly what the Delta is about, whether it be an old church that is no longer used or a photo of the proprietor of Po' Monkey's lounge, Mr. Willie Seaberry.  I am calling this my gallery series and the first image is above.  Additional images will be added over the next few weeks as they are completed.

Signed prints exactly as you see above are available but without watermark at the lower right.  If interested, please contact me via the contact link above.

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(Old South Images) Mississippi Mississippi Delta clyde butcher http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/7/out-with-the-old-and-in-with-the-new-a-time-of-new-beginnings Sun, 20 Jul 2014 17:37:11 GMT
Juking in the Mississippi Delta - The 2014 Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale MS http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/5/juking-in-the-mississippi-delta---the-2014-juke-joint-festival-in-clarksdale-ms There was dancing in the streets.....music in the air..... pig races....and people from all over the world.....  the Juke Joint Festival!!!

Each year, on the second weekend of April, Clarksdale, Mississippi takes on a new life as visitors from all of the country and several foreign countries descend on Clarksdale for the annual Juke Joint Festival.  The festival is a celebration of America's music, the Blues... birthed in the Mississippi Delta from the tenant laborers that worked the fields.... songs passed down that were written to pass the time as they worked the fields of the fertile Delta land.  

This year was the first time I had ever been to the festival.  I had wanted to go in years past but something kept getting in the way that always prevented me from making the short two hour drive over to Clarksdale.  I didn't know what I was missing and now, I already have the 2015 dates on my calendar and intend to be there.

Roger Stolle, owner of the Cathead Gallery in Clarkdale is the driving force behind the Juke Joint Festival. He saw a need and an opportunity to promote an area of the country that has definitely seen better days, but now it seems that Clarksdale may have found life again as people begin to buy the old buildings downtown and convert them to condominiums or short term places to stay.  Places such as The Shack Up Inn, the Lofts at the Five and Dime and blues venues like Red's Lounge have also been a big influence on bringing people into the area.  Add to that the rich history of the Delta Blues Museum and you have the makings for a turnaround.

As a photographer the festival is a haven for photo opportunities.   There were quite a few photographers as well as some video people, all with the same intent of documenting the festival.   I made a decision to do all of mine in B&W because I thought it allowed the viewer to focus on the intended subject without being distracted by a lot of color, and believe me when I say there were a lot of bright colors - most of it centered on some very eccentric clothing that I saw people walking around in.   

Here is a selection of photos I did at the festival.  Leave a comment or two and please share using any of the social media buttons above.

Click each image to see larger and use the controls at the right and left of the image to go back and forth.

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(Old South Images) Mississippi Mississippi Delta blues blues music clarksdale dancing holy moly juke joint festival masonic people photography piano pig races temple http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/5/juking-in-the-mississippi-delta---the-2014-juke-joint-festival-in-clarksdale-ms Wed, 07 May 2014 18:55:26 GMT
Let's Get Together - Tornado Relief Aid for Tupelo, Mississippi - How YOU can help! http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/5/lets-get-together---tornado-relief-aid-for-tupelo-mississippi After doing a lot of thinking this past week about what I could do to help the idea came to mind that I could donate the profits from my prints to be used as part of the tornado relief fund to assist those that lost their belongings in Tupelo, Mississippi.

On Monday, April 28, 2014 at about 2:45 in the afternoon, a powerful EF-3 tornado ripped through Tupelo.  It began on the west side of the city and move steadily and forcefully in a northeasterly direction, consuming homes, churches and businesses in its path for 24 miles. 

What I would like to do is offer everyone the opportunity to own a piece of my art while allowing me to donate 100% of the profits from the sale to be used for tornado relief.  The profits will be sent to a local agency that has been designated to disburse the funds. 

Here is all you need to do:

  1. Click the link below.
  2. Order the print or prints in whatever size(s), etc. you desire.
  3. Send me an email letting me know what you purchased, etc., so I can thank you personally for your help.  If you don't let me know what you purchased I have no way of knowing since the orders are being fulfilled by my offsite printer and shipped directly to you.  I only know that someone purchased and not who they are unless you tell me.
  4. Share this blog post with all of your friends and social networks.

Here is the link:  http://lowry-wilson.artistwebsites.com

I will keep this active for the next week.

If you see a print on my regular website that isn't on the link above, let me know and I will arrange to get you a print.

Let's see how much we can raise to help.

A Christmas wreath and mattresses next to the street in the Joyner neighborhood in Tupelo. Supplies available for free at a church in the Joyner neighborhood. The storm right before the funnel formed. Look in the between the buildings at the bottom right and you can see the wall cloud.

 

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(Old South Images) disaster donation relief tornado tupelo http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/5/lets-get-together---tornado-relief-aid-for-tupelo-mississippi Tue, 06 May 2014 23:00:06 GMT
A Church in the Mississippi Delta. What do you see? http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/4/a-church-in-the-mississippi-delta-what-do-you-see The Mississippi Delta has become one of my favorite destinations over the last four or five years and each time I go, I always make it a point to "check up" on some of the places that I have been watching during my travels.   Sometimes I find that a place I have been watching is being restored but more often than not, I find a lot are being left for nature to reclaim, man no longer able to keep up with the decay as they gradually crumble into the ground waiting to be discovered by future generations.

Some of my favorite subjects in the Delta are the old country churches, many of them built by plantation owners for their workers early in the 20th century.  Some of them much like the church at Mt Helena Plantation have already had their fate determined while others have managed to somehow stay intact.  Then there are those like the church near Marks, Mississippi that sits beside a swamp fed by one of the many creeks and waterways formed when the Mississippi River changed course over the years.

I have been watching this church for the last several years, and photographed it several times just so I could keep up with how it was doing.  I have never gotten anything much worth using, but every time I was in the area I would ride by and make a few photos, never expecting to really have anything to show.  And that has been the case each time.... until this last time.

I had been to the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale earlier in the day and after leaving the festival I began the long two hour trek, passing this church on my way back home.  As I always do, I turned in, looked for a few moments at the cemetery with the sinking graves that sit in front of the church and followed the worn tire paths that were lined with graves on both sides from almost a century ago leading to the church.

As I pulled up in front of the church I happened to notice this tree that was beginning to bud out as the weather warmed.  I walked over to the tree and then looked back at the church watching the light reflect across the front of the building from the late afternoon sun.  As I looked up at the decaying church steeple through the tree that was coming back to life after a long winter, the photo of this church I had been searching for the last few years was suddenly right in front of me.

As a photographer I often get the question, "What kind of camera do you use?" or the statement, "You must have a nice camera," or any of the other the dozen or so comments that people often make while looking at my work.  It is usually because they think it is some sort of magical process that occurs as a product of the camera.  So many times they fail to realize that rarely a photo just happens.   It often requires multiple trips or planning for the right time of day or a combination of a myriad of other factors that all determine the outcome of the final product.  And in the middle of all of this is the "story," often placed right out front but many times it is left to the viewer's imagination.

This photo of the old church is like that.  I have my own ideas about the "story" that exists in this photo but I would like to hear what you think the story is.  Since you have spent this much time reading this post, how about taking a few more minutes and leave a comment below and tell me what "story" you see in this photo.  

Cycle of LifeCycle of Life

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(Old South Images) antique church delta doors down" falling mississippi mississippi delta mt helena old sun sunset tree water http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/4/a-church-in-the-mississippi-delta-what-do-you-see Wed, 16 Apr 2014 00:33:10 GMT
Friends, Photography and Tears: A Photography Story about Making a Special Memory http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/3/friends-photography-and-tears-a-photographers-story-about-making-special-memories I originally wrote the following in December of 2011 but have updated it with additional information.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Feel free to comment and share.
 
Sometimes people are introduced into our lives that we would never expect to meet and for reasons that we will never understand.  Usually it is because they have a common interest or some other relationship with other friends that causes it to happen.  It is always interesting when it occurs but in my case, it was an Internet forum for photographers that has allowed me to meet people from all across the country, some of which have become life-long friends that I see once or twice a year. 
 
In 2007, I got the crazy idea to meet a group of photographers at Bricktown in Oklahoma City for a weekend of photography and fun. I have been to photography conventions before but never anything quite like this, especially when I didn't know anyone other than through an online forum.  It was a blast and and there are a lot of stories I could tell, such as: 
  • Meeting Pat and Grant Harris for the first time in the hotel lobby and knowing immediately who they were and likewise, even though we had never even spoken in person.  We have gotten together at least once a year since 2007 and in a couple of cases, more often when planning meet-ups or just passing through the area.  I've had the privilege of staying at their home in Skiatook, OK and being the recipient of their hospitality.
  • Having the experience of meeting Cort Anderson and spending an entire day exploring old alignments of Route 66 west of Oklahoma and eating buffalo burgers at one of the stops along the way. Sites such as Lucille's at Hydro, OK and the 39 Pony Bridge near the ghost town of Bridgeport, Oklahoma.  Since that time, we have gotten together at least once a year to explore another section of old 66 or some other place, such as the Flint Hills in eastern Kansas.  I found out that a Subaru will really float, at least for a few seconds. About once a week we talk on the phone about various things, and more recently he has come to Mississippi to explore the vast expanse of Mississippi Delta.
  • Then there was Bing.   Bing is from Memphis and she met all of us for the first time in the hotel lobby, called me by name and came over and gave me one of those big Southern hugs.  It was like I had known her all my life and since that time, she has ridden with several of us during one of the many Route 66 trips and participated in several of the meet-ups from across the country.  She has even  hosted a meetup in Memphis each year for a smaller group of us as you will read about later on in this blog post.
Bing is young enough to be my daughter, actually she is younger than my oldest son (now I feel really old) but I sometimes get the feeling that she was born a couple of decades too late.  That isn't a bad thing but many times she reminds me of the 60s rather than the 80s.
 
After meeting everyone in 2007, a group from the South begin meeting in Memphis each October or November to get together for photography and good times.  Since that time, the group has grown to include others from Ohio, Delaware, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina and probably a couple of other states that I can't remember at the moment.
 
So, in 2011, when the planning was going on for the November meet in Memphis, I met Bing one day for lunch while I was working in Memphis.  She brought baby Ro with her and we had lunch at the Little Tea Shop on Monroe Street.  We discussed the meet and then she told me that she was looking for a specific portrait of her and Ro to give to her husband for Christmas.  I told her we could do the photograph at the Memphis meet when we got together.  They were in the process of purchasing a new home and she said if the house was close to enough to ready, we could do it there.
 
As planned, we all gathered at Bing's new house to photograph some models and just generally have a good time.  Since there were about 20-25 of us there, it was a blast. 
 
While the others were doing their thing, we chose one of the rooms that no one was using to create the photograph that Bing wanted.  Debi Allen, Rosemary Hayes and Dave Wolanski assisted in the shoot and I got several good images. After looking through the images, there was one in particular that just really stood out. I sent it to Bing and she called me saying she was wiping tears from her eyes.  
 
• • • 
 
Ansel Adams once said, "A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is thereby a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety."  While I think he was talking mainly about photographing the landscape for which he was so well known, I believe that statement holds true for portrait photography too.
 
It certainly holds true for what was created that day of Bing and Ro.
 
Bing and Ro
 
 
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(Old South Images) baby baby photograph family friends historic hydro lucilles meetup memphis mom mother and baby mothers love mpix oklahoma photography road trip route 66 rt 66 wanderings http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/3/friends-photography-and-tears-a-photographers-story-about-making-special-memories Mon, 31 Mar 2014 20:52:04 GMT
Returning to Nature-The Church at Mont Helena Plantation http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/3/returning-to-nature-the-church-at-mont-helena-plantation Over the last several years I have spent many hours traversing the great expanse of what is referred to as the Mississippi Delta.  It is actually more of an alluvial plain where the mighty Mississippi River has ebbed and flowed, frequently changing course over the decades and with each change depositing silt and creating one of the most fertile areas in the world for growing crops such as cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat, rice and a few other things.

As I have driven through the Delta exploring the back roads, listening to my car tires clicking off the miles while hitting the gaps in the concrete of old US Highway 61, there are several places that have a special draw for me and each time I am in the area I make it a point of going back to see the changes that have occurred.  It is interesting to see how things transition over the years and watching as nature begins to reclaim what is hers when man no longer has an interest or the financial means to save them.  There are many places like this in the Delta but one of my favorites is somewhere I make a special effort to try to go each time I am anywhere close and that is the old church at Mt Helena Plantation.

I wrote about this church in a blog post a few months back entitled, "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," and have wondered how the old church was faring since I was there last November with my good friend Dave Wolanski.  I am sad to say, it isn't doing too well.

Since my first visit in 2011, the church has gone through regular changes and at this point it seems to be in the last stages of its life, ignoring the owner's efforts to prevent it from leaning by erecting internal braces.  When I was there this past weekend with my good friend from Kansas, Cort Anderson,  some of the cross braces had fallen and the church was really beginning to lean. 

The chimney has fallen from the church and the back wall seems to be making an effort to separate itself from the rest of the building.  The front of the church is leaning more than it was last year and the siding at the back has begun to fall off the building.  The only thing that seems to remain constant is the old piano inside.  

It won't be long now before the building leans one last time before falling back on itself.  And when that happens, a piece of Mississippi Delta history will be lost forever with only personal memories and photographs made through the years remaining.  

This is part of why I do what I do with photography, and on the back of my business card is a quote from Henri Cartier-Bresson that really applies here.  It reads, "Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again."

On at least two other occasions I have photographed places that have later vanished.  I've learned to always stop and make a photo every time I see something like this, even if the light may not be correct or it is the wrong time of day or whatever because the next time I am by there, it might no longer exist.

It will be a sad day when the bell rings one last time.....

Mont Helena CME ChurchBuilt in 1878, this church served the plantation workers for many years but is on its last stage of life. Mont Helena CME ChurchA view from the south side of the old church that was built in 1878.

 

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(Old South Images) Mississippi Mississippi Delta Mont Helena Mont Helena Plantation Print of the Month bell church falling leaning old photography piano plantation windows http://www.oldsouthimages.com/blog/2014/3/returning-to-nature-the-church-at-mont-helena-plantation Mon, 03 Mar 2014 15:43:56 GMT