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Image of Juandra Griffin and Venita Murray, Moon Lake

Tom Rankin (aka Thomas Settle Rankin)
American, born 1957

Juandra Griffin and Venita Murray, Moon Lake

negative 1990; printed 1994
From the series, Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta

Object Type: Photograph
Creation Place: North America, American, Mississippi
9 5/8 in. x 9 9/16 in. (24.45 cm x 24.29 cm)
Medium and Support: Gelatin silver print on paper
Accession Number: 1998.0001.0002

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James M. Scott

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Tom Rankin’s "Juandra Griffin and Venita Murray, Moon Lake" is one of several group portraits published in "Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta"." In "Sacred Space", Rankin captures the places, people, and personalities of Mississippi Delta churches and their congregations, focusing on the aging buildings, the church elders, and the baptismal ritual. By documenting the baptism ceremony, the participants, and their emotions, Rankin illuminates the spiritual heart of the church. In the book [Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta" (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1993)], he writes that, “traditional outdoor baptisms represent perhaps the quintessential transformation of an existing place into a sacred space. Though the number of outdoor baptisms in bayous, lakes, and rivers has declined in recent years—the natural bodies of water having been supplanted by churchyard and indoor baptismal pools—some congregations are holding on to the traditional practices because of its history and the symbolic relationship with the original baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the River Jordan.”

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