What is America?
Over the last several years this question has been prevalent in the day-to-day thoughts in my mind. Easy question…. but difficult to answer. The meaning of what America is changes from person-to-person. I began thinking about this when the recession hit right in the midst of my transition from a support role in advertising photography to a full-time shooter. It was bad timing for the recession. I persevered and managed and am now shooting full time. It was quite an accomplishment. As I was going through this process, I asked myself what kind of images would capture how people felt coming out of a recession as deep as this one? I came the to the conclusion that in this new post-recession environment, relishing in the tenacity of our economic system, only in America does an individual have the freedom to pick themselves up by their bootstraps and pursue their dreams. We had the strength as a nation, a resourcefulness, to heal ourselves despite the depth the downturn. Resourcefulness, this is the most relevant term that resonates with me to describe th condition of our society. This is represented not only in our current environment but also into the next evolution of our society through education, technology, manufacturing, the infrastructure that supports all of this, and ultimately, our success. I believe that people will respond to images that evoke a positive connection while highlighting what it is to be American. My recent personal work attempts to reflect this concept subtly if not overtly.
With this as a starting point and taking into account that there has been a fundamental shift in our societal structure over the past 20 years or so makes translating an idea of America a challenge. This translation needs to be one that captures today with an eye towards images that will be relevant in the future.
What is it that bridges the gap from past to future? People would be an obvious answer, the flag- more symbolic. In the end, it’s probably too rhetorical to be translated through imagery alone.