Michael Loyd Young – Beer, Bait & Ammo

Michael Loyd Young

Beer, Bait & Ammo

A SOUTHERNER…by definition is an American who lives in the south…It’s more than that…from Texas to the Carolina’s the south is a way of life. Considered Rednecks, Bubbas and Good Old Boys they live by an unwritten code.
If you kill it you grill it, if you catch it you fry it, if you meet someone in a bar you buy them a beer. An outsider is not a stranger, he’s your neighbor.
Music still comes out of jukeboxes in the Ice houses and honky tonks. Bait shops that sell everything from beer to pickled eggs dot the landscape from one end to the other. Motor Courts and RV Parks welcome travelers who venture away from the franchised interstates. Two lane black top roads stretch across the south connecting the small towns main streets where Family owned diners serve home cooked meal with a smile.



American flags are proudly displayed on store fronts and school yards. Freedom has a special meaning and change doesn’t come easy. Most are desperately holding on to their past..this is the South…my backyard.

-Michael Loyd Young-


Commentary by Diego Orlando Photo Editor Burn Magazine

“A Southerner in the South taking pictures of the South. This how I see Mike’s book and this is has been my first impression when I had the chance to see the journey at its earlier stage.  Mike’s five year journey took him from the tip of Texas to the Florida Everglades. For me – as European – has been a surprise. Stereotypes are among the most used key to pretend to understand the reality we do not know – and I was not an exception. So being dragged with pictures into a lifestyle so faraway from my own world, made me curious. And I started to look beside the images.. what emerges is a culture explored with no judgment, without overwriting it, without filters. Way more than a diary of a journey. No, a real exploration done by one of the subjects photographed there.. That’s why this book is so authentic: Mike is the photographer, but he could be one of the subjects, it could be one of the fishermen or one of the hunters on the frames easy to find in many of the bars there. Tones and lights, composition and places.. everything contributes to picture the South in a way I have never seen before.”  Diego Orlando – BB&A Curator


See  the interview  between David Alan Harvey & Michael Loyd Young about BB&A






Michael Loyd Young is a photographer based in Texas, travelling from there all around the world. His main work focuses on exploring the Southern part of the U.S. through the daily life of people.

BLUES, BOOZE & BBQ, published by Powerhouse Books. B,B, & BBQ won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for photography.

CHANGES IN LATITUDE, published by Burn Books, was released in June 2012.

BEER, BAIT & AMMO release date March 2014 published by Burn Books. BB&A documents the southern half of the United States, or the “South”. A world of its own where change comes slow and the right to live the way you choose is a way of life.

Recent exhibits include Photo Week Washington, DC — Houston Photo Fest — Powerhouse Arena, Brooklyn –Delta Blues Museum, Clarksdale — Rouen, France — Lille, France — Vannes Jazz Festival, France — Rennes, France — Sydney, Australia

Michael lives in Texas.


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Michael Loyd Young






52 Responses to “Michael Loyd Young – Beer, Bait & Ammo”

  • There was a time when I imagined that a person with no business sense such as myself would still somehow manage to create a completely independent magazine based on flying my then still whole but now crashed little tiny airplane not only all about Alaska but anywhere else in the Far North that suited me. The homes of Far Northerners, particularly Native, tend to be wall-papered with personal photographs. In each issue, I planned to publish one of these “Off the Wall” photos and to write the story behind it.

    This review of this book which I already have reminded me of that failed goal, even though my earlier viewings of this essay did not.

    I did publish one such magazine after receiving an unexpected windfall of about $10,000, but it cost me over $20,000 to do and while I got lots of good comments on it I sure didn’t get anywhere near that much back. And I refused to sell adds. So I never did another. And I broke my airplane and could never afford to replace or repair it and an airplane is the only practical way to get about the Far North on a timely basis.

    Anyway, I love this book and admire Michal Lloyd young for his vision and success in getting it together.

  • Lovely pacing throughout. The broad spectrum of images works nicely.

    As a Brit, who understands little of American gun culture (yet I can relate to the beer and fishing), this was a fascinating insight.

  • Fun stuff. There’s a bit of redneck in most of us.
    Way to go Mike.

  • Peter David Grant; if you’d like to understand more of the gun culture, get hold of a copy of Zed Nelson’s Gun Nation. It’s eye opening.

  • Wow. I was only down south once in 1995 and got but a hint of this world. I was photographing a Mardi Gras parade from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi to Gulfport, Alabama. Nothing so in-depth as this amazing body of work.

    Spending time with these images brings back the sounds and smells of my own experience. Congratulations on a stupendous project and publication.

    I will add this book to my wish list.

    – Paul.

  • Sorry, Gulfport, also in Mississippi.

    – Paul.

  • Oh dear, the memory is hazy, Bay St. Louis to Gulfport and on to Mobile, Alabama. That was the route.

  • all too familiar, like the back of my hand. good work mike. makes me want to shoot the bowling alley and twin sisters dance hall in blanco.

  • Paul, I covered your ground, from Mobile down to the tip of Lousiana. During the five years that I worked on BBA I would normally find a base for 5 days or so and just hang out, buy a few beers and once they discovered that I was working on a project there was always “a place you have to checkout”
    Thanks for the kind words

  • Frostfrog, interesting…a little insight on the walls in my book. Myself, DAH and Diego were in David’s NY loft working on the book layout. Diego suggested that I go back and shoot walls…6 moths later I sent Diego the wall pics, he took the wall pics and had the designer place my photos in several frames on the various wall pics. Thanks for the insight

  • Paige, the bowling alley in Blanco is on of my favorite places to eat, and yes, a very cool place.


    All I can say is “wow!” Wow, what colors! But also, wow — on the whole effect of these photographs. What I mean is that if I did something like this it would look like stereotypes, which this essay does not. I suppose one has to be well grounded in the culture — but I really cannot express in words the effect of these pictures. Like all great photography and painting, they speak to me so graphically that words fade away…

    Though I hate hunting, I love this essay and shall have to get a hold of the book. Who said that “straight photography” is passé?

    As a photographer, of sorts, I also think, what film did you use?, or what digital camera did you use? I shoot with an M9 to try to get these type of colors, but mostly fail because my sensitivity, or application, or color vision, is lacking. Wow, again.


  • Thanks Mitch, I shoot digital. Nikon D700 and Fuji X-T1. Now days I primarily carry the Fuji with 35 fixed lens. I found that if you set your camera white balance to “cloudy” it could improve your color.

  • Mike, you already know what I think of this book. So honest, real. Gives me a real sense of time and place. Great great work. I’ll have a beer and flip some pages now. Cheers my friend.

  • Well done, Michael!

    Independence, freedom, individualism, masculinity, interwoven with Southern sensibility. That heat is poured into all of the images, even those interior and nocturnal, which glues these themes together. At first I thought the flash was filtered through a beer bottle, an esoteric (Burnian) technique which would make the “redneck” association more relevant; changing the white balance does the same, I guess.

    There’s a consistency throughout which is more than just the colour treatment. Tough-as-nails pictures with something positive underlying.

    Real, honest photography.

  • Thanks Jeff, I have used the beer bottle technique, also makes a great tripod.

  • tonyhayesimages, thanks, I will be sure to check it out.

    I am going to have to get hold of your book Michael, looks great.

  • i think this is a classic example of someone shooting in their own backyard and really looking in the mirror so to speak…i always encourage photographers to shoot the obvious…what is close to THEM…

    when i met Mike , he was doing the opposite…traveling around the world and shooting the “faraway places” approach…with Blues, Booze, & BBQ he went “home”….it worked…now with Beer, Bait, & Ammo he did it again even more so…

    i think this is absolutely the hardest thing for 90% of the photographers i meet…to look at what is obvious….and then live it, breathe it, soak it up deep…Mike did that here imo….

    Mike did another thing that is also very very hard for most…he started it , and then he finished it….finishing is the killer for most people…many start, few finish….yet Mike has that tenacity that it takes to finish….he is also able to take critique…tough critique…and willing to throw stuff out that just doesn’t work…

    great work Mike..i look forward to what you do next…for sure nothing seems to be slowing you down at all…

    that is another thing that is also rare…there are many who can do one project and then we never hear from them again..not sure why that is….the full nature of creativity is a mystery at best…

    as Jeff Hladun says, “real honest photography”……it’s just that simple…

    cheers, david

  • Peter, by the way…the Burn Team is updating the Burn Books site…the reason that I mention this is along with the hard cover Beer, Bait & Ammo there is also a soft cover, same quility paper, etc. Going with the tradition that David started with his Rio book I wanted to have a price option. The soft cover will sell for $20.00 US plus shipping.

  • At the age of eight my whole family and I moved over from England to live in the USA. We ended up living years in Virginia. Now I don’t know if Virginia is within Mike Young’s Beer, Bait and Ammo territory, but these images sure do remind me immensely of those four intense years I lived over there. At first it was a huge culture shock for all of us, I mean Surrey does not have much in common with the Deep South. However all us except for my mum managed to adapt and finally fall deeply in love with this territory. I’ve lived in a few countries by now and I can honestly say the Deep South I encountered and loved is the only place I’ve ever had real neighbors, people who were more like close friends who you could depend on.
    The images keep growing on me, there’s a lot going on in them and little snippets of subtle magic keep appearing if you look closely. I just love 29, the guitarist in the beautiful light is so intense and same goes for the girl at the beach looking deep into the camera lens. This essay is sure soaked in the southern intensity with all it’s stubborn ghosts and stories. It’s personal with a capital P. I’m sure Mike has always loved this place but I bet turning his lens on his backyard has made him see and appreciate things he just took for granted. Great stuff.

  • Mitch Alland,
    You’re probably aware of what I’m about to write, but just in case…
    If you’re look closely at Mike’s images you’ll see these colour images have a kind of depth or weight to them. The colors are kinda “heavy” but not heavily saturated. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike underexposed these images just a bit, add the cloudy color balance and you should get this look. Same with DAH and Divided Soul, in fact all of his color work where the blacks are deep and intense which obviously underexposes the rest of colors.

  • PAUL. As I am sure you know yourself the old slide guys would always protect the highlights at all costs.
    deep shadows, Weighty colours would result under certain light. not a deliberate underexposure as such but a requirement that produced a distinct look that many ran with.
    ALSO. email me your address as I have a nitrate print from the exhibition for you. (I seem to remember you wanting one once)

  • John…
    I Can’t find your email!

  • Michael, Thanks for letting me know, I will keep my eye open.


    how did i miss you for a pint in London?

    in any case, Merry Christmas, and yes protect those highlights…i do!!!

    cheers, david

  • DAVID. No worries. Ongoing chest infection thing going on anyways……and shoreditch is way too hipster for me :)

  • Hi Paul, thanks. I made it as far north as Nags Head, NC, close enough to Virginia. The man with the guitar is King George from Terlinga. A border town in west Texas. Jeff Bridges based his character in Wild Heart on King George.

  • Paul and Mitch, you are correct. I did underexpose many of the images in BBA in addition to shooting cloudy on white balance.


    way too hipster for me too…not my choice….next time amigo….get well……

    cheers, david

  • Interesting, as just a couple days ago I mentioned to a photographer friend who came up in the olden days of film that I routinely underexposed my images so I could maintain the highlights while keeping the ability to retrieve the shadows in the RAW development process. He said that was just the opposite of what he had been taught, that there was even a phrase, “keep it to the right” that meant the needle in the light meter should read overexposed.

    Regarding the essay, the lifestyles depicted are not exotic for people of my background, so nothing is the least bit surprising, shocking, or particularly enlightening. For me, it’s just an interesting depiction of an everyday way of life. What I like best about it are the photos of photos on the walls. The repetition of those images, I think, communicates the heart of the matter, which is that hunting and fishing as practiced by rural and small town Americans is largely a family affair. On one level, they communicate the power and place of photography in regular people’s lives. On another, they serve as chapter breaks of sorts for the essay. They break it up, but into more easily digestible bits and at the same time serve to bring the reader back to the bigger picture.

    There are, of course, many negative aspects to that general scene, and I am tempted to want to see a fuller representation, but I guess that’s the route just about everyone else at higher levels of photographers take, so why not just enjoy a little side trip down this scenic blue highway? You certainly don’t have to look hard to find more depressing sites on the interstate, if that’s what you want to see.

    Anyway Michael, well done.

  • Very enjoyable, Mike–gritty, sexy, weird. Congratulations!

  • First of all, BIG BIG CONGRATULATIONS MIKE ON bb&B! :)

    Damn, 2 books in 2 years or so, that hound hunts! :)….so wonderful and great for you and great for Burn books!

    From looking at the excerpt above, what is abundantly obvious is the direct and honest and non-judgment you bring to the people, bars, places, circumstances of the book. What I enjoy very much is that the pictures are stripped of any kind of irony or accusatory judgment or patronizing analysis that might easily have accompanied the subject. There is a simplicity and love here that comes across in the most straight-up ways and I really like that, especially in a time when so many photo-books and photogrpahers seemed to want to make their books and stories ‘cool’ or ‘distant’ or ‘conceptual’ for its own sake…too clever by a 1/3….instead, you’ve given us straight up story with east and joy…and yes, some gorgeous light (especially those from OBX)….

    as a child, our family ran itself up and down the spine of the south, va, nc, sc, georgia, floria, tenn, ky, ms….spent many a day sitting warm and excited beneath the oak listening to cicada and the swatch of sprinklers over lawn, waking up to a bowl of grits and garlic shrimp and egg, collards and peacan, salt ham and fireworks and the sway of light over dune…..and above all, that Blue Marlin shot captures everything for me that seems still real about the south: loss, hope banged from loss….

    for anyoen that has lived in the south (and iv’e lived in the south 2 substantial parts of my life) recognizes those ghosts….still capping over with stories and booze and banter, but ghosts non-the less…

    there i go to, walking away from that Motel, Hopper ghosts and all…

    big hugs!

  • MW, I appreciate the kind words. I agree with you that there are many negative aspects that I could have focused on while touring the South. No different than Blues, Booze & BBQ. The Mississippi Delta is one of the poorest and under developed areas in the country. I prefer to focus on the positive aspects of life in all of my projects. However, both sides need to be explored.
    All the best

  • Hey Bob, I going to steal your second paragraph and use it in my final trilogy. Love it. FYI, the Blue Marlin Motel is in Key West. Thanks Bob

  • Michael :)

    be my guest brother…:)…and yea, i’ve been to the Blue Marlin! ;)

  • Bob Black,

    Thanks for adding Florida to the “South” list!

  • Carlo! :) :)…….

    florida absolutely is the south….any time spent outside of the golfcourses, new developments, etc knows….i love that florida and miss it (my dad, and 2 brothers till live in florida….my brother in Charlotte)…

  • …drive the Panhandle back roads over to Alabama if you want to experience the true Florida. Better than that, take the old coast road from Tampa up to the Panhandle.

  • michael :)…have done the panhandle to alabama to mississippi to n.o. :)….and the old coast roads…but that’s one part of florida :)..another part: the central part of the state (not talkin’ Disney)..and the orchards/groves…and the weird places in the north: drive from Jacksonville to panama city and tallahassee….and definitely take in a swamp buggy race…or go searchin’ for gator at night…love the old florida…stories to tell…then again, i remember orlando when it was mostly orange groves….;))….

  • Speaking of preserving the highlights, I generally try to do the same thing but I recently had an interesting experience. It took place on the ocean, involved several different boats lined up with celebrating people who wanted to express their joy to my camera. The pictures were hard to take, because the boat was going up and down with the waves and sometimes I would get what I wanted in the frame and sometimes not and I had to shoot with a high shutter speed because of all the motion and that meant high ISO.

    I love my Canon 5D Mark 3 cameras but they have a terrible feature. In situations where you are moving fast and furious, bumping into and rubbing up against things the little dials will change your settings and you won’t even know it until it is took late. That is what happened here. When I was done and all the boats went back to their business, I took my first look at the images. It made me sick. All were super overexposed – pure white LCD, with a few darker lines running through it. I could not bring the boaters back together and I wondered how I would explain this to them later.

    But Lightroom brought it all back. The boaters will never know the difference. Only a pro will ever look at the images and know they were once overexposed. Had the same thing happened with film, there would have been no hope at all for those images.

  • Michael And Bob,

    Have traveled that road twice….from Miami all the way to New Orleans…For sure a different kind of Florida than say Miami, Orlando :)
    There is an interesting side and you could say the other side of the coin that I find fascinating to “Old Florida” the one from the 1920’s
    Here in Miami you have pockets and remnants of that era in cities like coconut grove, miami springs and coral gables to name a few….the more affluent parts of the story of the “South” you could say….

  • Gulfport is in Mississippi. I know that because I was there on the Fourth of July weekend back in 1989 to see my youngest brother marry his now ex-wife. What I remember most about that weekend, beyond losing the pool on how long this clearly disastrous mistake of a marriage would last, was the heat and the humidity. New York in the summertime can be extremely uncomfortable, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve never been anyplace where the mosquitoes were sweating along with everyone else.

  • “…but I’m pretty sure that I’ve never been anyplace like Gulfport, where the mosquitoes were sweating along with everyone else.”

    must learn to proofread before I hit the submit button. I keep telling myself to do that and I never do, dammit!

  • Akaky – even when I proofread, I tend to read it as I thought I wrote it and don’t see that I didn’t until after I post.

    Anyway, I really like the line about the mosquitoes swearing like everybody else…

  • I thought that was pretty good too, if I can clap myself on the back for a second. I wouldn’t mind the damn mosquitoes swearing so much, but they kept doing it in front of my mother, who doesn’t like listening to that sort of thing.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    MR.HARVEY will buy the beer,
    BURNIANS will be the baits…
    Ammo? hmmm… we will ask the governments…
    ouzo on me…

    Love,Love …What not to love !!!
    MICHAEL LOYD Y…another Silent Power BURNIAN…!!!

  • a civilian-mass audience

    poofread??? oh, come on now…;)

  • Great photos Michael!

  • Mike, You rode into belly of the Southern beast and came out with an honest action-packed trilogy. Good work and ‘good on you mate.’

  • Medford, I believe it was 4 years ago on David’s porch. I was showing David the first year of BBA and you pulled the “Dog & 2 Hunters” portrait. You said “that’s it, go get more of those”. Thanks for the advise. Hope to see you this spring.


    love to get you both back on my front porch where absolutely nothing happens…refreshing!!!

    abrazos hermanos, david

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