IntroductionCentral Mississippi is out of my usual exploration area. I suppose I do not get out enough. Therefore, in conjunction with driving my wife to the airport, I have made an effort in the last couple of years to explore south of Interstate 20 and south of Jackson. This is an area of gentle rolling hills, farmland, forest, and small towns. We will take a gentle swing heading south from Jackson, then west, and then back to Vicksburg. There is a wealth of photographic subject matter. I will break up this impromptu tour into three blog articles. Also, the tour is a conglomerate of two years exploring, so it is not exactly one big circle route.
|3011 Hwy 49, Florence, (April 14, 2019, Panatomic-X film, Fuji GW690II camera, 90mm lens, ½ sec ƒ/11)|
|Unused cottage, Brandon, Mississippi (Leica M2, 50mm Summicron-DR lens, green filter, Kodak BW400CN film)|
|Gasoline pumps, Raleigh Food Center, Hwy 35, Raleigh|
|Faithway MB Church, Maple Street, Mize (50mm ƒ/2.0 Summicron-DR, green filter)|
|1st Ave. NE, Magee (50mm, polarizer)|
|Hotel site, Hwy 49 north of Magee (50mm ƒ/2.0 Summicron-DR, green filter)|
|Big Smitty's, Hwy 149, Mendenhall|
|Main Street, Mendenhall (Leica M2, 50mm Summicron-DR lens, polarizing filter to emphasize sky)|
|Mendenhall tracks, view west from Main Street crossing (50mm ƒ/2.0 Summicron-DR, polarizer)|
|Mendenhall Grocary & grain, Main Street, Mendenhall|
|Maain Street, Mendenhall (50mm ƒ/2.0 Summicron-DR, polarizer)|
Many years ago, the Mendenhall Hotel was famous for its southern cuisine served via lazy Susan turntables. It was featured in the 1977 edition of Roadfood by Jane and Michael Stern. We had the book and meant to try out the Mendenhall Hotel but never passed through the area at the right time of day.
|Star Theater, Main Street, Mendenhall in 1990 (no longer extant). (Kodachrome slide, 35mm ƒ/2.8 Olympus Zuiko Shift lens.)|
"During the late 1960s, the Star Theatre had problems with vandalism and growing racial tensions among its young patrons who objected to maintaining segregation. Under Jim Crow customs, black customers were required to sit in the segregated balcony and wanted this changed after national legislation to end such practices.
In October 1979, a newly remodeled and fully integrated Star Theatre reopened under the ownership of Danny Collins, a young local entrepreneur. Its first movie was the Chuck Norris film A Force of One. The theatre enjoyed revived popularity until competition from video arcades and cable TV forced Collins to close some three years later.
The theatre was repainted when used as a location for the film My Dog Skip. Heavy rains caused the roof to collapse in April 2008. The theatre burned down in 2016."This ends Part 1 of our informal tour of mid-Mississippi. In the next installment, we will proceed west to Pinola and other small towns.
For the Florence photograph of the old store, I used Panatomic-X film in my Fuji GW690II, the "Texas Leica." Some good news: I bought 6 more rolls of the 120-size film from the same eBay seller who sold me my present stock in 2003. In effect, I have paid him to store the film in his freezer for a decade and a half. Fortunately, slow speed black and white film, when kept cold, is usable decades after its official expiration date. But color films do not last as well, as my experience with expired Ektar 25 demonstrated.
The other photographs are from Kodak BW400CN film taken with my Leica M2 camera with 50mm and 35mm Summicron lenses.