As you may or not know (probably know if you follow me on facebook) I recently took a trip down south which started with an evening in Memphis and continued to Mississippi for the Rebirth Workshop and Retreat. You can check out the Memphis images HERE. Whenever I travel in this fashion by car, I always find that half the fun is finding off the beaten path spots to photograph which is where I found these first 2 images.
The workshop was held in Clarksdale MS, pretty much considered the Birthplace Of The Blues. There were about 11 students in all, and we all stayed at a VERY unique spot called the Shack Up Inn, which are basically repurposed sharecropper shacks turned into rooms
Lets just say that I have never stayed in a place like this before—
it’s a little like someone went to an antique show, bought doors, window frames, pieces of metal–old signs….and then used then all one way or the other in the cabin
the building across the way was an existing cotton gin turned into more ‘hotel’ type rooms.
Theres an interesting article here in Delta Magazine about the property
we all gathered Sunday afternoon for a meet and greet and an overview of the weeks schedule. Diving right in obnoxiousness, I started shooting right away…
lots of photo visual goodies!
We started each day with a writing assignment as well as an unexpected drawing task as well! The writing was based on a website called Unphotographable, where you are trying to think more consciously about what you are seeing when you ARE not photographing (as well as when you are!) So we had about 5 minutes to write a brief statement which started with: This is a picture I did not take
Not as easy as it sounds, but it DOES get you thinking in a different fashion in day to day life
We were paired up in dreams and had 30 minutes ( 15 minutes each) to do a portrait of our team member. Shari and I went into her cabin where she had a random piece from a church we incorporated in the the shot. I was playing with my tilt-shift lens for this image
I was grabbing quick portraits when ever I could.
Will took me out for a ride to a town a bit south of where we were, and while pretty typical shots, I enjoyed the patterns of the cotton/soy bean fields
this particular one with the dust in the distance was my favorite
I went out later on my own and found a few interesting things right near town.
the open hydrant and bright colors against the abandoned house was just too odd not to photograph
a few shots of the famous New Roxy theatre, which plays a big part in Blues History.
I was ALL OVER this pristine Greyhound station !
later on, I got to use a large format camera for the first time EVER (I still can’t believe I have NEVER used one of these!) The negative from that ended up being used for a palladium print, but I also grabbed a few shots digitally..
just a random hook I spotted in a garage.
My cabin at dusk.
That night, we had a little evening get together after a long day of shooting
the next day we had a fast project to go out and shoot shapes – trying to look for the space BETWEEN things rather than the thing themselves. I also grabbed a few train shots right as it started POURING rain!
you can see the rain below if you look carefully
It was one of several pretty intense Mississippi storms to pass through
goofing around some more with the tilt-shift lens…
don’t ask me why, but I was fascinated by my shower head
I grabbed this series in maybe all of 5 minutes–a little tribute to Diane Arbus
the final day (the day of the gallery show–more on that in a moment) I spent a little time in a part of Clarksdale I hadn’t driven through before
I had been shooting 2 1/4 film with my ancient Hasselblad and had 3 shots to kill to finish the roll–and this actually turned out great!
driving to Cleveland MS, there was this little abandoned taco stand in the middle of nowhere.
so the entire week we were working towards creating an image suitable for a gallery show at Will’s Gallery Thursday evening.
here I am watching everybody else get stuff done.
our ‘unphotographable’ writings were all grouped together on one wall.
afterwards we strolled through town to Wills house where his wife Jamie and his Mom had prepared an amazing dinner for us. I took this snap on the way ( …trailing behind as usual!!)
the image I ended up choosing (after much internal debate) to put in the show. If you’re in Mississippi–stop by: its up for about 5 more weeks
a group shot after dinner (snagged from Will’s blog)
and what better way to end than with more vintage neon?…
It was such a very fun week and so great to have a chance to get out of the ‘normal’ way of thinking, especially when all you start to think about through the year are wedding images. And doing things out of the box was really cool and a good eye-opener before I head into Wedding Season— I have not sat and drew something for no good reason for 30 minutes like we did there in I don’t know HOW long. I cannot believe i finally got to use a large format camera and the Wet Plate process is simply Black Magic , if you ask me :)