Juke Joint by Birney Imes – a capturing of a lost world…
Well, this is like looking inside my own mind… (and is a tribute to public libraries and the good folk who choose their stock, as that’s where I first came across it). In a way part of me is confused that I’ve not come across it before as it’s right up my straße.
It’s a book of photographs of even then disappearing Mississipi Delta juke joints in the 1980s and quite frankly it’s like looking into another world, you can’t believe they actually existed looking like this in all their glory.
The decoration is often very home made and reminds me in a way of what has become known as Outsider Art; all hand made and homespun. Ramshackle but beautiful at the same time and possibly a homage to a time before slick all-conquering commerce and professionalism in culture (and quite possibly subcultures)… and the colours and lighting, well, don’t get me started, I’ll be here all day.
More than touch surreal here and there (plus I love the handwritten signs telling folk the prices and not to do dope and crack on the premises).
Often the figures in the photographs appear shadowy, insubstantial, fading away, which seems to reflect something about the world and the way it was also sliding from view…
Anyways, I shall not talk about this too much. I shall just say that I heartily recommend you seeking out a copy of the book.
Birney Imes at Rose Gallery
The publishers of the book: University Press of Mississipi.
Peruse the book here.