I spent a lot of time just being in these places, photographing whatever seemed appealing, interesting, or beautiful. I talked to people in these towns who I would come in contact with while photographing. They all were surprised I chose these places to work with, but not because they weren’t worth it but because it is rare than anyone who is not born and raised there could find beauty in such small, traditional places. But that is what I was going for, the tradition and culture of these places.
I see photography in the most traditional sense. It is a tool for capturing a moment in time, a tool for preserving an individual, a family, or a culture. Photography was a way of keeping memory alive. This is the driving force for all the work I create because when I am taking a photograph of a person, a place, or a moment in time I am thinking how will I want someone in the future to react to this image? How will my photograph be an accurate depiction of that person, place, or moment in time? With the losses I have experienced the most important thing to me in life is to continue to create images so that I can preserve the life and memory of those around me. This project I have been working on the past few months is more about discovering a part of me that is present in a place I have never lived but only visited. My entire being and the way I think about the world stems from my parents’ backgrounds and my family experiences, many of which have been in one of these small farm towns. I look at these places that I am photographing and see a culture based in faith, tradition, and family. Each and every one of these images radiates these values and I can see myself in all of the images I am creating. Not just because I am the one creating them but because my life is reflected in these places.