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Dear <<First Name>>

I think that in one hundred years people will see that photography was the pervasive expressive art form for this era – Charles Traub

Charles H. Traub is an American photographer and educator who founded the MFA program in Photography, Video, and Related Media at the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1987.  He notes in a video at Blind that one picture is not worth a thousand words.  Instead, he suggests that a thousand pictures of the same kind of thing, event or idea by a thousand people will tell you something really true.

He doesn’t think about photography in categories, such as documentary or street or fine art or conceptual. Instead, he sees photography as a medium at the intersection of all kinds of creative activity, dialogue, and intercourse about our society and culture.  In his view, time, context and history will tell us the real meaning of the images, rather than categories we assign to the image or photographer today. A street photograph today might be a beautiful portrait 20 years from now.  Categories ebb and flow, they are malleable.  He sees photographs simply as documents. Documents about issues, historical, economic, social, and cultural “things.” Things that are there to be captured by the camera.

Most photographers want to explore and learn what they can say with the camera.  Photographers learn to look and see in the way that the camera sees.  Unlike vision with our eyes, there are aspects of the camera’s view that are unique to the photographic image.  For example: the camera works in the context of a single horizontal frame that is 2 dimensional; the eye works in 3-dimensions; the eye looks around a scene, dynamically adjusting based on subject matter; the camera captures a single still image based on light; a camera captures every detail while human vision throws information aside to make sense of a scene. On this latter difference, we see more in photos because all of the details are captured and are there to be looked at over and over again. 

In this way, the photograph brings order to details; details we often didn’t realize were there.  Next time you look at a photo, look for all those little details.  When you think about it, no other art renders details like the camera. And, those details help tell the story.

I am certain that if I have any merit, it is knowing how to make good use of my eyes, to guide the camera in its task of capturing not only colors, lights and shadows, but the movement of life itself. -Gabriel Figueroa, Mexican Cinematographer

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Photographing Scarred Places in Mississippi 
had some time on the road working with the camera to capture stories…historical stories and stories of music. 2500 miles later and several hundred images of new raw material, thought I would share with you some of the new work. Click on the images to view them larger.

For more information on the Till stories, please visit The Emmett Till Interpretive Center and their Memory Project.  And, if you are so inclined and can afford it, please consider supporting them with a charitable donation.

On the evening of August 24, 1955, at Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, Emmett Till whistled at Carolyn Bryant. It was a history bending whistle. According to the sign that has stood in front Bryant’s Grocery since 2011, the whistle jump-started the American Civil Rights Movement.  Also worth noting that the property where the store stands is owned by the family of one of the jurors. Right beside the store is a beautifully restored 1940/50s gas station. 

On Friday, September 23, 1955 the all-white jury took only 67 minutes to deliberate before returning a verdict of not guilty. It was widely reported that the only reason it took them as long as it did was that they drank some Cokes in order to make it appear as if they were struggling with the decision. Source:https://tillapp.emmett-till.org/items/show/9

Emmett Till was kidnapped from the location seen in the image on the right. It no longer exists.  The image on the left is about half a mile from the original location.  On the evening of August 28, 1955. He was staying at the home of his great uncle and aunt, Moses and Elizabeth Wright, who sharecropped 25 acres of cotton on the Grover Frederick Plantation. Source:https://tillapp.emmett-till.org/items/show/13

According to the so-called “confession” penned by journalist William Bradford Huie in the January 24, 1956 issue of LOOK Magazine, Emmett Till was beaten in a shed behind J.W. Milam’s house in Glendora, taken to a steep bank on River Road, shot in the head, and dumped into the Tallahatchie River weighted down by a 75-pound blast wheel from a cotton gin.  For decades, Huie’s account, because it was branded as a “confession,” functioned as the definitive word on what happened to Emmett Till in his final hours.

We now know that Huie’s account was wrong. Till was tortured and killed in a seed barn, photographed here, on what was once the Milam Plantation.

Remarkably, among the many Till commemorative sites and signs dotting the Delta landscape, this terribly important place continues to exist in a memory void. There is not a single plaque, marker, or memorial at the still-standing seed barn. With no signs to tell the story, the barren commemorative landscape repeats the lie once told by William Bradford Huie. Huie moved the murder site to hide the complicity of Leslie Milam and others. The lack of memorials at the site makes it all too easy to forget that murderers Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam had help.
Source:https://tillapp.emmett-till.org/items/show/4

Some Additional Images
(top to bottom)
Sharecroppers home, on the road from Money to Greenwood, MS
Back Roads, Money MS
The Black Bayou, Glendora, MS
The Back Steps to the Paramount Theatre Balcony, Segregated, Clarksdale, MS
The Black Bayou Bridge, Glendora, MS ...read more here
Sharecroppers

Binhammer Photographs Website

Music and Photography
A New Adventure

Not only do I have an interest in history, I also have a love of music. When I am working in the digital darkroom, music is often cranked up...sometimes I sing while developing images.  In fact, some images, have a specific tune associated with them, in my mind.

Historically and artistically, there are connections between these two art forms.  Photography has been a documentary tool for showing us "music."  In some cases, music and photography have been understood to come from similar places.  A subject in a photograph occupies much the same role as a melody or theme in a piece of music.  

Im not getting into all of that at this time. I just know that music and photography interest me. As a result, I have started to explore these connections...and, frankly, I am not sure where this goes.  However, thought it would be fun to share some of the beginnings with you.

I Will Never Love a Man...Aretha Franklin finds her voice in Muscle Shoals.  Music:  here Story here
The Rolling Stones went to Alabama and recorded three songs that evoked the country, blues and R&B sound of the region. Over three days – from Dec. 2-4, 1969 – they put down the basic tracks and live vocals on "Brown Sugar," "Wild Horses" and "You Gotta Move" at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Ala. The story is that Keith Richard put together Wild Horses...in that bathroom
Mavis Staples' voice didnt need a separate recording sound booth...she just sat in the corner and sang. Here we are with I'll take you there.

Paul Simon, Bob Seger, Leonard Skynard...those keyboards.....you can here them on Old Time Rock and Roll, Freebird, Kodachrome.
 
Do you remember the mystery created by Bobbie Gentry in her debut single “Ode To Billie Joe”?  It cast a spell over the entire country. Set to a backing of spare acoustic guitar chords and atmospheric strings, Gentry’s sensual, Southern-fried voice relates the story of two Mississippi teenage lovers who share a dark secret that eventually leads to the boy’s suicide. The finished version of “Ode” was over seven minutes long. Capitol edited it down to a more manageable four minutes and stuck it on the flip side of “Mississippi Delta.” But those were the days when DJs still had minds of their own, and as in the stories of so many classic hits, the B-side became the A-side. Over 40 years later, despite cinematic details in the song’s lyric, we still don’t know exactly what happened up there on Choctaw Ridge.  This is the bridge, rebuilt, across the Tallahatchie River.

Po Monkey is a juke joint in the Mississippi Delta  Juke Joint is the vernacular term for an informal establishment featuring music, dancing, gambling, and drinking, The Jook was the first secular cultural arena to emerge among African American Freedmen. Set up on the outskirts of town, often in ramshackle, abandoned buildings or private houses — never in newly-constructed buildings — juke joints offered food, drink, dancing and gambling for weary workers.  Classic Jooks, found for example at rural crossroads, catered to the rural work force that began to emerge after the emancipation. Plantation workers and sharecroppers needed a place to relax and socialize following a hard week, particularly since they were barred from most white establishments by Jim Crow laws.
 
Muddy Waters lived on this site, part of the Stovall Plantation, where he worked as a sharecropper.  He learned to play guitar and harmonica as a child and was first recorded here in 1941 by Alan Lomax who was compiling songs for the Library of Congress. This interview is from the legendary 'Down On Stovall's Plantation' field recordings in Mississippi done in 1941 and 1942. In this second part, Alan Lomax asks Muddy about his life, his guitar-playing style and his song writing process.
If you are interested in learning more about Muscle Shoals and its' place in American music, here is some information and here.  You can also check out the documentary, streaming here on Amazon Prime.  

If you are interested in more Muscle Shoals music, here is a playlist on Apple music.
 
Just a reminder, the images you see here or on Instagram and Facebook may not be on the website in the prints for sale section.  However, I often work with individuals who see something they like to bring that image, or a related photo, to them in a print they love. Just send me an email
Hoping you are enjoying the summer and getting some time to do what you most enjoy. I certainly enjoyed a week on the road taking photos. That is why the July newsletter didn't get to you. And, since it is summer, consider this the July and August edition of the newsletter. See you in September
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www.BinhammerPhotographs.com
Richard@binhammerphotographs.com | 512-422-6867
5807 Harbour Hill Place, Midlothian VA, 23112
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