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Somewhere Nowhere There, In Between Portfolio

The water strider is surely one of nature’s most gifted creatures, for it has mastered the art of walking on water. It does so by maintaining the balance made possible by carefully distributing its weight across its six legs. In this way, it dwells in the dream world In Between what is above the surface of the water and what lies below.

The images seen in this body of work were taken in the region known as the Lower Mississippi River Valley between Cairo, Illinois and New Orleans, primarily in the small towns and countryside. Often called The Heartland, it is a place In Between the two coasts of the United States. The agricultural regions of The Heartland, like much of the rural United States, if not the world, are in the throes of a wrenching transition In Between the past and future. Due to advances in technology, the farm jobs are disappearing, and with them the jobs to support the people who were once in those jobs. The individuals left behind who have not been lucky enough to inherit wealth or own property have become a largely invisible class of the retired or disabled, or the folks without the requisite skills or education to compete for higher paying positions here or anywhere else. It is a life on the edge, living In Between paycheck to paycheck, barely making ends meet for as long as nothing goes wrong for you or the people you love, like the transmission going out, accident or illness, getting hooked on alcohol or drugs or in trouble with the law.

I have lived in the South for most of my life. It is a place which I treasure for the beauty to be found in its landscape and people. However, an appalling degree of poverty still exists, and with it a lack of access to health care and education. There is also the dark legacy of racism that continues to the present. Over the course of my lifetime, things have gotten much better, but they still have a long way to go. Like the water strider, I must live In Between the world here as it is and the way I would like it to be.

My method in obtaining most of these images is to drive around the countryside in my old red Ford pickup, staying off the interstates and poking around the back roads, prospecting for those fleeting moments when something extraordinary is revealed. The people and places seen in the work are “wild caught”—I am encountering them for the first time, just as you are now. The best images of the people seem to come when I can get them to talk about themselves. For these few moments, we are somewhere In Between strangers and friends.

What makes the world inhabited by the water strider compelling to an observer is not what can be seen at the surface upon which it skates. While that may be pretty, it is that which cannot be seen in the depths beneath it that fires one’s imagination. Like the surface of water, a printed image is also a flat plane—its power lies not in the qualities of its surface, but in the depths of feeling it evokes In Between the image, the viewer, and the photographer. The deeper the story there to be told when the shutter was clicked, the deeper the dive made possible by the photograph. In The Heartland, one senses that here is a place where one can never hope to touch bottom, where there is much to learn, not just about this place, but ourselves as humans, dwelling like the water strider, in a world In Between what we want and what we do, who we would like to be and the more complicated story of who we are.

Nine-Acre Patch

Interstate 55, Arkansas

Happy Little Clouds

Friars Point, Mississippi

Twisted

Highway 51, Mississippi

SNAFU

Cairo, Illinois

Womb

Hwy 278, Arkansas

Blue Syzygy

Clarksdale, Mississippi

Psychodelic Bass

Krotz Springs, Louisiana

The Hive

Annis Brake, Mississippi

Bernard

Clarksdale, Mississippi

Grace

New Orleans, Louisiana

Once Upon A Time

Drew, Mississippi

Under Cover of Darkness

Durant, Mississippi

Another Day in Paradise

Blytheville, Arkansas

Baby

New Orleans, Louisiana

The Wow Factor

Waveland, Mississippi

Widow

Wilson, Arkansas

Autumn Foliage

St. James Bayou, Missouri

Westward Ho!

I-57, Missouri

Joker’s Wild

Bonnet Carre Spillway, Louisiana

Packin’

Highway 1, Mississippi
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