For Bless Your Heart, New York City-based photographer Grant Ellis returns to his hometown of Cleveland, Mississippi, capturing the small, magical moments he remembers from

childhood. The project began unofficially when Ellis turned 16, got his driver’s license, and took to the open road with his camera. Through Ellis’s wistful lens, the Mississipi Delta emerges as a misty landscape aglow with youthful energy and a rich cultural heritage.

Ellis’s snapshots of life on the Mississippi are unplanned and serendipitous; he prefers long, meandering drives that include unpaved back roads and spontaneous turns. Here, the town is seen as a place of innocence and freedom, a long-lost home to which we return with nostalgia and tenderness. Ellis encountered this girl in Ruleville, fixing her in his gaze just as she turned to do the same.

Image © Grant Ellis

via The Ones We Love