Like Sweet Tea

April 13, 2012

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After much debating, erasing, and replacing, I have decided to shut myself up (well, mostly) and let these photos speak for themselves. That is, after all, what the old adage says, right?

A picture may be worth a thousand words,

but sometimes it’s better to keep them to yourself.

So take a look, but know that these photographs are not the best of the bunch of over 2000 taken during a couple of days in and around The Dutch Oven, a Mennonite owned and operated restaurant in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Sometimes “the best”, however, doesn’t tell a story. These photos purposely disguise the faces of most of the subjects (with a few carefully chosen exceptions), because this is a community that does not own or use cameras. It is, to use the phrase seriously for once, “against their religion”. Long story short, it took some mild-mannered Mountain-West convincing to be allowed to photograph these folks at all–with a promise to use them for personal growth as a beginning photographer–not personal gain as an opportunistic voyeur.

At the end of the day, I have a LOT to say about this amazing group of women, girls, and some of the men not pictured who allowed me into their lives, their homes, and even their sacred church. I am humbled and honored to show them to you not because they are great images or even cohesively compiled images, but rather because Joy radiates from these subjects–and it’s infectious...and we could all use a little more of the J-O-Y.

Like Sweet Tea is my first Photo Story–the product of Barefoot Workshops‘ “Photographing the Mississippi Delta”, a week-long adventure in what could also be called “How to take your camera from Automatic to Manual in 7 days” in Clarksdale, Mississippi (home of the Delta Blues…and more!) I took my Canon Rebel EOS t3i from automatic to manual with the help of the incomparable Chandler, Alison, and the amazing Amy Toensing, who is, incidentally, a freaking National Geographic photographer…and a freaking amazing one, at that. Just sayin’…

3 Responses to “Like Sweet Tea”


  1. Well done, well indeed!

  2. tkeenan Says:

    Keep the pix coming. These were great. My favorite is the one where all three faces are obscured and the woman in the foreground is opening a cabinet. Nice work!

  3. tkeenan Says:

    Keep the pix coming! My favorite one is where all three faces are obscured and the woman in the foreground is opening a cabinet. Really interesting stuff. Nice work!


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