Mount Tina M.B. Church, Scott, MS, 1990.
Place Meets Time represents a body of gelatin silver prints shot with an 8X10 view camera, that explores the landscape, monuments and vernacular architecture of an eighty-mile stretch of the Mississippi Delta over a period of two decades.
Tom's artist statement:
"When I moved to the Mississippi Delta to teach at Delta State University in 1988, the light and the landscape of the region immediately seduced me. Land that some outsiders might find monotonous with its table-top contours and endless horizon, I find purely magical in the resonance of time, water, and season. As Eudora Welty wrote of in Delta Wedding, “all seemed sky.” And it does on some days, from some vantage points. But more, to me, the Delta seems all land, with the nuances of breaks and bayous, levees and mounds, fields and sacred spaces accentuating the landscape in such a visible way as to make it seem all you could ever want as a photographer. And so I return, over and over, to a place I lived for only four years but a culture I’ll never be able to rinse from my mind’s eye.
I was also immediately drawn to the sacred in the many African American communities. No single institution in the region has had a more profound impact on the entire culture of the Mississippi Delta than the countless African American churches that accent the landscape. The ubiquitous presence of these churches and their adjoining cemeteries and churchyards—these sacred spaces—constitutes a three-dimensional iconography in an otherwise profane agricultural landscape. Landmarks to some, places of spiritual refuge to others, “home church” to their devoted members, these centers of religious and social life have been planned, built, decorated, and maintained by local communities out of heartfelt intention. I see in these spaces and the adjoining landscapes the attitudes, beliefs, aspirations, hopes, and realities of the entire place.