Once Familiar

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Historical preservation, though an admirable pursuit, often ultimately proves futile. Despite any amount of effort, one cannot wholly preserve an area that passed and refuses to return. When I photograph rural Iowa, I visit small towns seeking elements that provide me a sense of sentimentality for my own waning hometown

In Once Familiar, I explore spaces that hearken to a forgotten era that belonged to a generation who then appreciated their rural lifestyle and whose problems, at that time, still felt manageable without drastic political intervention. During each of my visits, I question at what point these greying spaces fade past the point of nostalgia and into outright decay

Much of my work explores its architectural remains built to feed, entertain, shelter, and serve locals who no longer remain due to aging populations and the continued export of youth. Meanwhile, the portraits serve as evidence of life despite the state’s continued export of youth to more prosperous areas across the United States.

 

Artifacts

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During any life event, it is easy to inadvertently obstruct moments by becoming too engrossed in recording devices. But without photographs or other memory aids, one must rely wholly on flawed human memory to recall treasured moments.

This photo series is an experiment in capturing memories retroactively.

I grew up visiting great grandmother’s house almost every day. When I was there, I never thought to pull out a camera and preserve special little moments — my grandma cooking, doing laundry, working in her shed, or relaxing in front of the television — until it became impossible.

After she passed away, my memories of her began to soften. Sharp impressions rounded out and became warmer, even to the point of idealization. I grew afraid of the important parts disappearing altogether.

About a year later, I traveled home to capture this effect and, hopefully, halt its progression.

The human mind preserves few events perfectly. Mine betrays me, imposing false artifacts on my most pristine recollections, altering them and instilling fiction. These alterations overwrite parts of even my most permanently fixed memories. Three-dimensional objects positioned on the paper in the darkroom illustrate elements of this process that cannot be captured through a lens.