“No place like Boonville though, Buddy.” (Allen Ginsberg, Kansas City to Saint Louis)
At first view, the vast open space and pastoral landscapes of the Midwest and its inhabitants seem to exist in a nostalgic vacuum. Upon closer inspection, these people and their activities express a desire to connect with the past although the reality of the present is inescapable.
The romance of idealized county life lingers in the landscape and people of this region, but it becomes confounded as time elapses. For example, the stylized depictions of vernacular Midwestern locations and life by painters such as Thomas Hart Benton and George Caleb Bingham are still evident in today’s landscape, but contemporary fashions, cars, activities, and technology crack the illusion of the past. History and the present simultaneously mingle to create an environment where neither exists independent of each other.
Through my photographs, the stereotype of traditional country life fades into a rusted backdrop, while the contemporary aesthetics of American culture define a new rural landscape.
The majority of these images were made in Missouri. There are a few photographs that were also taken in West Michigan and in Kansas.