Mike Sinclair | Gallery

Midway at the Oasis

Midway, Neshoba County Fair, Philadelphia, Mississippi, 1990. Image courtesy of the artist and 20x200.com

The Neshoba County Fair is different from the county fairs we have in the Midwest. It has most of the things you usually find: livestock judging, a beauty pageant, horse racing and a midway. The unusual thing is that it has over 600 one- and two-story cabins, called fairhouses, arranged into streets and neighborhoods on the fairgrounds. People own these cabins and live in them for the seven days of the fair. They are highly prized, handed down from one generation to the next. For the visitor, it gives the place a strange feeling: you are not sure if you're in a public or private space. When I was there I remember feeling Iā€™d come upon some extravagant neighborhood block party that it was obvious ā€” at least to me ā€” was from another block.

The question of being on the inside or outside of a group is something I believe most photographers think about. Do we photograph the familiar or the exotic? Are we reporters or memoirists? If I went back there this July, 20 years later, what pictures would I take?

Posted in: Arts + Culture, Photography

Comments [1]

People are always on the lookout for something new. When being in an unfamiliar place or situation we are constantly trying to take mental pictures of our surroundings in order to be able to bring this image back to life in the future of some way. Candid photos of people is a familiar scene that photographers typically generate when at large events like this. seeing this "neighborhood" of some sort does not change this fact. It basically seems to be set up like any musical festival where people set up shop and live there for an entire week. this isn't like some beach house they own and live at for months at a time or anything, but a mini oversized tent they inhabit for a week. open arms should be welcomed and by now, the inhabitants have to be used to it... so enjoy, but i feel you could achieve the same pictures in any suburb.
James Carr

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