This sparkling, little gem of fine photography and deeply sympathetic writing illuminates the world of the African American "home-church" in the rural Delta region of Mississippi. Rankin went to the churches as an outsider, and his first pictures concentrated on homemade tombstones and architecture. Clearly, his great sensitivity won the confidence of church members, however, which enabled him to take the subsequent, moving photographs of baptisms and portraits of pastors. Rankin is not the first outsider with such a project (Doris Ullman in the 1920s and 1930s comes to mind, and others emulated her), and his work is not without the faint whiff of patronizing interest ("College professor photographs local color"), yet the project as a whole has great integrity and respects the integrity of its subjects. Exquisite reproduction of the 48 black-and-white images and a well-written introduction are supporting strengths. A modest but very real contribution to the visual record of the African American South. Gretchen Garner
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.