Birney Imes
Juke Joint

July 3, 2004 - August 28, 2004
Saturday, July 17, 6-8pm

Rose Gallery
2525 Michigan Ave., G-5 (Bergamot Station), Santa Monica, CA 90404
Contact: Andrea Bronte
310.264.8440, fax 310.264.8443
E-mail, <>
Web site, <>
Hours, Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-6pm

Birney Imes, “The Uptight Café, Moorhead”, 1984.

At any rate the process, especially in the early phases of development, is a very frequent one, and it makes it possible to suppose that the character of the ego is a precipitate of abandoned object-cathexes and that it contains the history of those object-choices.
-Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the Id

A child of the 1950s segregated South, Birney Imes embraced photography in part as a means to explore the social facets of the community from which he was withheld during his youth. Initially, Imes' subjects were the people themselves, the occupants of that unfamiliar culture. His subsequent photographs of local juke joints, however, in many ways address the culture more directly, as personified by the sites of its enactment. Ramshackle buildings, sparsely furnished, spontaneously decorated and accessorized with handwritten menus, advertisements and admonishments, take on an aggregate personality more vivid than any single customer. Imes does occasionally and perceptively photograph the patrons of these shoestring establishments, but more often than not his long exposure times reduce the human population to ghosts, incidental to the collective identity of the venue they sustain. If, as Freud suggests, an individual's character is essentially a sedimentation of the things they've loved, then presumably a critical mass of well-loved, well-used objects will begin to delineate a personality. Birney Imes goes a long way, with these photographs, in mapping the psychological topography of such inimitably Southern structures.

Birney Imes lives and works in Columbus, Mississippi. His photographs have been exhibited in solo shows in the United States and abroad. His work is held in many private and public collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. Mr. Imes is the author of three books of photography: Juke Joint , Partial to Home, and Whispering Pines.

Birney Imes, Juke Joint - An exhibition of chromogenic dye-coupler photographs by Birney Imes, will be on view from July 3, 2004 through August 28, 2004. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, July 17, from 6 to 8 PM. The gallery is located in the Bergamot Station Art Center, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Gallery G-5, Santa Monica, CA 90404. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 PM. For more information, call (310) 264-8440. <>.

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