Rural Iowa Project Update

I began a photography project about rural Iowa almost a month ago and wanted to share some of my first images.

Initially, I started with a different project idea and was shooting digitally but quickly changed my mind. I decided since it’s my senior year of college I want to spend time making images I love, on film. Especially because after graduation, a lot of the film photography resources and equipment I currently use — cameras, film scanner, darkroom, chemicals — will no longer be readily available to me.

With this project, I want to capture  visual markers that reminded me of my hometown. I grew up in Northeast Iowa in a small town named Marquette, but I’m shooting in places I never visited before. Yet, within them, I find many of the same familiar elements. This ubiquitousness is developing into the theme of my project.

I’m shooting all my images on the university’s Hasselblad 501CM, which I chose primarily for its throwback square format. They have a great kit with three lenses but I typically use the “normal” 80mm lens (f/2.8) for my work.


Settings, focusing, and film winding are all completely manual, which I personally enjoy. There also is no light meter, but the free Android app LightMeter has always served my needs. The iPhone app is called myLightMeter Free.

So far, I’ve been using Kodak Ektar, a relatively saturated film, for all my exposures because I think its colors the nostalgic feel I’m seeking to create.

Hasselblad 501CM, Kodak Ektar 100
Hasselblad 501CM, Kodak Ektar 100
Hasselblad 501CM, Kodak Ektar 100
Hasselblad 501CM, Kodak Ektar 100
Hasselblad 501CM, Kodak Ektar 100

This project is still in its beginning stages and there is room for the concept to grow and change. If you have any location ideas or suggestions for my project, please let me know in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Rural Iowa Project Update

  1. I am so in love with this project. I am doing something very similar but in rural Ohio and it is incredibly interesting to see the differences and similarities between the two places. Such wonderful photographs, keep up the great work!

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