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 ... Show synopsis 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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