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  • "Take Time to Appreciate"The Mississippi Delta Region, 1994–2002
  • Bruce J. West (bio)

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Mrs. L. V. Hull, 2002.

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In 1994 Bruce West began photographing the Mississippi Delta and surrounding areas. His interest in documenting the region arose from his ex-wife's love of southern literature and because the South was the only part of the United States he had never traveled. "Although this region was largely a mystery for me," he says, "I quickly became entranced. For me, there seemed to be an almost palpable sense of time and history inscribed in the surface of the land and in the faces of the people I met."

West makes simple and direct photographs that address this history, as well as the religion, politics, and geography that have shaped and informed the Delta region, often portraying people enmeshed in their environs. "A lush and exotic landscape—a setting encouraging and supporting heroic transformation—nurtures all endeavors," he says. "These people joyfully forge their identities, often in the face of great adversity and always outside the influences of contemporary media culture."

"Take Time to Appreciate" comes from a sign crafted by Mrs. L. V. Hull, a folk artist who paints terse philosophical statements on handmade crosses and discarded pieces of furniture. Hull is one of many people who befriended West during his travels across the South, and her message speaks to what West calls his "primary objective as a photographer." [End Page 49]


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Mr. Fortner, 1994 (above);


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Reverend H. D. Dennis, 1996 (below).

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Mrs. Blanche Aldrich, 1998 (above)


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and 1999 (below).

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Mrs. Eliza Clinton, 1999 (above);


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Women at Flag Day, 1999 (below).

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Michael Posey, 1999 (above);


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Johnny, 2000 (below).

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Reverend H. D. Dennis, 2000 (above)


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and 2002 (below).

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Margaret bending, 2002 (above);


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Girl with glasses, 2002 (below).

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Paul McLeod's "Graceland II," 2003 (above);


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Frank Morehead, 2004 (below).

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Sonny Boy Williamson's grave.

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Bruce J. West

Bruce J. West is a photographer and a Professor of Art at Missouri State University. His color photographs are included in museum collections throughout the United States and Europe. Recent exhibitions include shows at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, The Anacostia Community Museum, and the Noorderlicht Photofestival in Groningen, The Netherlands.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 48-57
Launched on MUSE
2009-02-21
Open Access
No
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