Until a few years ago, I lived exclusively in the Northeast. I lived in small towns and cities, suburbs and inner city neighborhoods. On both personal and business trips, I traveled extensively, but I always came home and considered myself a “Northerner” through and through.
Then, in 2008, I took a full time job teaching in Atlanta. With our youngest child about to graduate from college, my wife and I decided it was a great time to reinvent ourselves and make a major change in our lives. We sold the house we had lived in for twenty-one years and moved to the South.
We were nervous about this relocation. We believed the clichés of the “liberal” North and the “conservative” South, but we soon realized that Atlanta didn’t conform to those ideas. And the more we explored the region, the more we came to appreciate the many facets of Southern identity.
An almost primal connection to the land, a long and celebrated storytelling tradition, and a spiritual atmosphere often unrelated to Christianity are all traits contributing to a complexity that is easily overlooked.
In the late fall of 2016 and 2017 I spent weeks on the road, traveling through rural North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. I stayed away from large highways and wandered wherever chance and whim took me. I used paper maps, not GPS and chose the roads I drove based on the width of the line (nothing too wide) and towns based on the size of font (nothing too large). I began by assuming this would be a portrait project, something of a follow-up to my earlier documentary project, American Flea, where I’d concentrate on the faces and environments that seemed emblematic of the region.
I stopped often to photograph and talk to people, but I soon realized that the towns, landscapes, and buildings I passed shared a visual power that I was compelled to consider. It was clear that most places were struggling from shifts in the economy and moves away from family farming. Their best days were behind them, yet the land and the spaces and surfaces of buildings and other public areas had qualities that fascinated me. They were graphic and often beautiful. The desolation of dead and dying vegetation from the time of year served to complement the lonely and often abandoned structures.
People I met were welcoming and open. They told me about their lives and were usually happy to be photographed. They were kind and enjoyed my interest in them. They often had suggestions about local landmarks and points of interest they thought I might like to see. I’m grateful to each of them.
Late Harvest documents my trips and this often ignored section of the United States. It is my tribute to the unique identity of the South.
Portraits from Late Harvest are available 12” x 18” in an edition of 5
All other photographs from Late Harvest are available in a total edition of 8:
3 - 24” x 36”
3 - 30” x 45”
2 - 40” x 60”