The Power of Personal Projects – Sin & Salvation in Baptist Town

Sin and Salvation in Baptist Town, © Matt Eich

Sometimes a simple assignment turns into a multi-year photographic project. Just as Shawn Reeder spent years creating a visual essay embodying the vast beauty of Yosemite National Park, Virginia-based photographer Matt Eich spent years documenting the rural Mississippi neighborhood of Baptist Town. For some photographers, subjects that start as mere curiosities turn into longterm fascinations.

Established in the 1800s in conjunction with the growth of the local cotton industry, Baptist Town is one of Greenwood, Mississippi’s oldest African American neighborhoods.

Eich initially focused his attention on Baptist Town, but then launched into a second chapter of the project about the adjacent area of Greenwood. His goal is to display the resulting images in both communities in an effort to actively engage residents in a dialogue about improving the lives of their neighbors. Eich explains, “These communities are separated by distrust and a history of exploitation. By visually introducing neighbors to one another in an …

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