It's obviously been a while since I've written here, but I thought the new year was a good time to stop and take stock of where I am photographically—and where I'm going.
2013 was an interesting year, to say the least. I have a great new job with a lot of opportunities to make a difference in people's lives and help bring a university fully into user-focused technology solutions for students, faculty, and staff. I'm very excited about it, but the amount of time it takes—while worth it—will take away from the time I have to make pictures, and think about photography in general.
Photographically speaking, 2013 was also an interesting year for me. I attended two versions of the Artist's Round Table (ART); once as a participant and once as part of the staff. As usual, both experiences left me with more questions than answers, but thanks to many of those same people, I'm pretty comfortable with that :-)
Without a doubt, meeting and talking with Bill Allard was a highlight of those trips. His work as a photographic storyteller is truly inspirational, and the guy is a damn good writer, too. It was an honor to share a meal with him and to listen to him speak about his work, and I hope I get to do it again sometime.
Night Lights is a project I've been working on for the better part of two years. It is a series of photographs that shows the spaces we illuminate when darkness comes. Originally begun as an exploration of security, the project has grown to include the personality of the lights—color, brightness, pattern, etc.—as well as revealing new questions to explore: Why shine light in these places? What are we revealing (or hiding)? The photographs here represent a slice of an ongoing project, designed to look at the reasons why we shine lights in the dark and what those lights have to say about us.
The Mooreland Fair series comes from three years of exploration of the meaning of community in the small town Midwest US. The fair itself is a bit of anomaly in the general structure of county fairs that feed into the Indiana State Fair. The Mooreland Fair occurs outside of that system; in fact, it takes place at the same time as the State Fair. There are no livestock shows or awards. It's more like a festival that appears every year for a week in August and then disappears just as quickly‚ almost like the carnival in Ray Bradbury's novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes—without Mr. Cooger and Mr. Dark.
Mostly, though, the Fair is a place where people of all ages come together for fun and friendship, some as far away as Cincinnati and Chicago. I've spent three years documenting the Fair and the folks that come to it, trying to better understand how this isolated event has endured for over 75 years.
Finally, I've also added some photographs of a more recent project, Flyover Country. This work is the beginning of a larger exploration of the American Midwest—sometimes referred to as "flyover country." As a born and bred Hoosier, my hackles raise whenever I hear that phrase and the subsequent dismissal of this area as without worth. My work here is designed to educate and inform, as well as to show the redeeming qualities of a lifestyle that is often described as ignorant or backward.
Each of these projects is ongoing and I'll probably add photographs to each collection over the coming months and years, but it seems appropriate at this point to begin to show them to you, if only to let you see where I am in my work and my thinking.
I've had many influences over the last couple of years that I would have never thought to consider before, and those photographs, paintings, and writings continue to inform the work I do. And I've travelled to many different places and made photographs there. Though my focus has changed since I wrote Close to Home, the essence of that book is what still drives me to explore more closely the world around me.
I hope you'll continue to come along for the ride.