Over the coming winter I will be working on the remaining 4″x5″ negatives from my Indiana Small Towns Project. In 2011, thanks to artist and curator, Kyle Ragsdale, I exhibited a selection of these photographs at the Harrison Center for the Arts.
This is a project that I truly believed in. I could see the coming financial crisis as far back as the early 1990’s. The foreclosure rate in Indiana was the highest in the nation. The family farm was being eaten up by big corporations. Manufacturing jobs were being shipped off to Mexico courtesy of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Many rural small towns were losing population and were eroding and being left behind in the corporate economy.
Being a native Hoosier that that has roots in these small towns, it ate at my heart to see these small towns heading in this direction. Rural farming and manufacturing communities throughout the Indiana were the backbone of our state. As I said in the writing for the Harrison Center for the Arts exhibition, I have this little archive, a snapshot in time if you will, showing these small Indiana towns in a state of historical change, where the past was coming face to face with the new reality.
In 1995, just a few years into the project, my mother became a victim of early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. All of my photography came to a halt and I didn’t make a photograph of any type for over seven years.
Over the last couple of months, after spending time with the negatives, I have decided to work through the rest of the photographs. The pictures still speak to me and I do want to share them. The reaction at the Harrison Center for the Arts exhibition was pretty incredible. People were really into the photographs and what they had to say. I hope to show this work sometime in the future.
Please revisit the original exhibition, including perceptive writing by Karen Bruner Stroup at this link.
Below are the first two photographs from the newly unearthed negatives.