Monday, July 31, 2017

The Mississippi Delta 21: Drew

Drew is a small agricultural town in Sunflower County. It is just off US 49W, between Tutwiler and Ruleville. I have been to Drew twice and both times was impressed by the grain elevators and symbols of its agricultural prosperity (or former prosperity), and unimpressed by the general state of decay and impoverishment.
Front Street parallels the former Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad (Y&MV) line. Many of the elevators were built next to the tracks.
During my 2017 visit, there was a heavy but brief rain, after which the light was sublime.
The corrugated steel lends a lot of shape and texture to photographs. These old elevators were impressive scale, and now they sit unused. The buildings were closed and I did not want to try to get in as I was alone.
On Union Avenue, I came across an abandoned store with one of the 45° entryways that you often see at corner shops. There was a Teddy Bear nailed to the power pole out front. I stopped and set up my tripod. Two young ladies with extreme cleavage stopped their car and seemed amazed to see me photographing. When I said I was interested in the Teddy Bear, they said it was a memorial because a guy was shot there a few days before. It is grim that violence is such a defining characteristic of life in many communities.
East of town, Hitt Chapel on Rte. 32 sits quietly on its own in the farm fields. The peacefulness is such a contrast to the troubles that exist downtown.

Most horizontal photographs were taken with a medium-format Fuji GW690II camera, the square with a Rolleiflex 3.5E with Xenotar lens. The film was the long-discontinued Kodak Panatomic-X. These negatives were scanned on a Minolta Scan Multi medium format scanner using SilverFast Ai software. The photograph of Hitt Chapel is from Kodak BW400CN film and a 35mm Pentax Spotmatic Camera (purchased in 1971 and still in operation).


  1. Great pictures. The "For Colored" store image is shocking.