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Whispering Pines

Overview

For Birney Imes a decaying roadside tavern in rural Mississippi has proved to be a rich and enduring source of photographic images. Place and its aura have been Imes's special province, and when as a young man new to photography he first chanced upon Whispering Pines, he was beginning a personal and photographic relationship that would last twenty years. This is where he had his beginnings and, since the mid-1970s, where he has made frequent visits to explore this peculiar microcosm of backwoods America. "It was ...
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Overview

For Birney Imes a decaying roadside tavern in rural Mississippi has proved to be a rich and enduring source of photographic images. Place and its aura have been Imes's special province, and when as a young man new to photography he first chanced upon Whispering Pines, he was beginning a personal and photographic relationship that would last twenty years. This is where he had his beginnings and, since the mid-1970s, where he has made frequent visits to explore this peculiar microcosm of backwoods America. "It was overwhelming, and it was irresistible," Imes writes. "The 'Eppie's Eats' sign out front, the rusting cars, the hedge in the parking lot dividing the White Side and the Black Side, and the stuff - it was everywhere inside and out: coin scales, pinball machines, juke boxes, lawn mowers, old campaign posters, newspapers, guns, cigar boxes, and beer signs." This "stuff," as well as the distinctive proprietor and his clientele, is the subject of the astonishing photographic work collected here. With warmth and humor Imes depicts the outrageous assortment gathered at Whispering Pines - the objects, the people both black and white, the owner Blume C. Triplett, and Triplett's amazing collection of relics. From this memorabilia Imes has produced a series of cigar-box still lifes, each a miniature jewel-like collage that becomes a surprising counterpoint to the photographs he made while the place was in operation. For almost twenty years Whispering Pines, its proprietor, and its clientele provided friendship and a refuge for the photographer, presenting a time-capsule view of a world now vanished. From that experience Imes has given us Whispering Pines, a loving homage to a time, a place, and its people.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
One of the best applications of photography is in documenting vanishing aspects of a culture. Here, Imes (Juke Joint, Univ. Pr. of Mississippi, 1990) portrays an old roadside cafe, in decline since the 1940s, and aging proprietor Blume C. Triplett, as well as the sundry clientele of the rural establishment. The series began in the 1970s, when Imes was just starting his career, and the resulting book serves as a personal essay wherein he revisits his youth. An elegiac quality pervades the photographs, which are gritty, idiosyncratic, and moving. This wonderfully revealing collection is enhanced by Trudy Wilner Stack's introduction and a remembrance by the photographer, which serve to further establish the work in the context of time and place. An essential acquisition for all fine arts collections, this should be considered by public and academic libraries wishing to offer their patrons varied examples of the finest contemporary American photography.-Raymond Bial, Parkland Coll. Lib., Champaign, Ill.
Booknews
Since the mid-1970s, Imes has been photographing the people, artifacts and ephemera of Whispering Pines, a roadhouse in Columbus, Mississippi. His rich color and b&w images document the life and history of the proprietor and his partner, in a combination of still lifes of personal relics arranged in cigar boxes and shots of Blume and Rosie at work and play. The text is minimal--enough to set the scene. 11x8.75" Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878057085
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 6/28/1994
  • Edition description: LTD
  • Pages: 96

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