Magdalena Sole picture

Stories behind Magdalena Sole´s images – Part II

Image above: R.A Catchings & Leonard Henderson at WE J´S © Magdalena Solé
I searched for the perfect chapel all over the Mississippi Delta until I found the Brooklyn Chapel in Greenwood. Not only was the chapel and the light just right, but also the cotton was at its fullest and the clouds that day perfectly mimicked the shape of the cotton balls. I didn’t know the picture existed until I found it.
R.A Catchings & Leonard Henderson at WE J´S © Magdalena Solé

It was still light outside when I took this picture at WE’J’s bar in Clarksdale, MS. I am a Caucasian woman from Spain and pretty oblivious to racial distinctions that still persist in the American South. As I walked into the bar, I noted that every one there was African American, but I didn’t think much of it and sat down to have a beer. I noticed the two men sitting at the table next to me and I was immediately captivated by the light that surrounded them, and the sound of their lively conversation, obviously they were very old friends. I liked them immediately.


With my camera, a Leica M9, and no flash at hand, I could not take this picture: There wasn’t enough light, Mobdro for iPhone and the ISO at best on the M9 could only render successfully to 1000 ISO, which wasn’t enough. The two men started looking at me as I was trying to figure out how to take their picture with insufficient light. I felt compelled to explain, so I looked up and simply said: “you are just too dark”. For a moment there was a pause, then they just burst out laughing, when they realized that calling them “too dark” was a technical problem, not a racist remark. Then I remembered that I had a Leica X1 in my bag, with a much higher ISO threshold. The X1 could take the image with the existing light, without the effects of any flash light or filters. That day was the beginning of a long friendship with the two men.


While in the Mississippi Delta combing the country side for a photograph, I came across this sleeping dog. Quietly I approached him so not to wake him up. Then suddenly a gust of wind, and the dog woke up, confused to see this woman standing in front of him with her camera. I always appreciate small gifts from the gods, such as this wind.


Magdalena Solé will be teaching the workshop The Delta a Photographic Journey through the Deep South on June 10-17, 2014 and October 13-20, 2014. More information here.

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