In January of 2016 the Mississippi River flooded— the third-highest level on record in St. Louis. For us in Mississippi, the rising tide felt bizarrely out of place, because rain had been minimal. When the river crested in the abandoned town of Rodney, normally three miles from the mighty Mississippi, I decided to take a series of five trips to document this phenomenon.
On my second trip, my goal was to try something new, to push myself, to see what I had seen before but in a different way. I did some research on how to create a double exposure with a Hasselblad 500 c/m.
Surprisingly, it is quite easy. Well, easy when you are not wearing waders and standing waist deep in cold water. I pushed down my underlying dread of accidentally dropping the camera as I inserted the dark slide, rocked the back off, wound the crank to reset the mirror, and attached the back again to take the second exposure.
For this image, I first photographed the church itself, making sure to capture the strangeness of a Russianesque building floating in water. Then, because the shape of wintering trees always fascinates me, as does the way their branches turn purple as gloaming deepens, I photographed the bare branches of the trees nearby.
To be candid, the resulting image was a happy accident. I didn’t know whether I had framed it properly or metered properly; yet, it perfectly encapsulates those days I spent photographing Rodney while it was flooded—a watery dreamscape.