Birney Imes Columbus, Mississippi, b. 1951


Birney Imes graduated in 1973 with a degree in history from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Shortly after graduating, he set about teaching himself the art and craft of photography.  In 1985, he received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant.


Throughout his career, Imes focused his camera on people, places, and cultural events of the Mississippi Delta. Acclaimed author Robert Ford said, “So appealing in Birney Imes’s photographs is the sensation they create in us that here we are being shown, are even intruding on things – expressions of face, dispositions of furniture in rooms, eventful effects of light – that have not been shown before and that seem secret, even forbidden, exotic to us, even though we may have stood in those very rooms and roads ourselves, or believe we know what lies outside each frame.” Among his publications are Juke Joint (1990), Whispering Pines (1994), and Partial to Home (1994).


Imes’ work can be found in national and international collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson; and La Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, among others. He is third in a long line of Imes’ owners and publishers of The Dispatch, a newspaper in Columbus, Mississippi.