With the previous post from last summer’s travels, I’ve now put everything I’ve done in Appalachia online. I started writing a fellowship proposal in 2006 to photograph mountaintop removal when I was a student in Baltimore. The trip that resulted lead me to discover Southern Ohio, which then lead to another few years of traveling to the region to make a second project, Plume. And so between Plume and Removing Mountains, I think I’m done with making work about coal, at least for now. The traveling, editing, and writing spanned nearly 5 years. I’ve become a completely different person in that period, from age 21 to 25.
When I decided to do a follow up project to Removing Mountains, I began thinking about a book. I wanted it to be in 3 chapters, the final chapter encompassing a project that was not directly tied to the region, but the broader philosophical and social issues I was addressing through the coal industry. This spring I applied for a state arts grant to make that third project, loosely about the mythology surrounding American industrial history, but didn’t receive it. Simultaneously, over the course of the last couple years, I’ve been heading back into the studio to continue the much more interdisciplinary practice that I had developed while in school. I spent the last 6 months applying to grad school with this work, and starting this fall, I’ll be attending an MFA program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It’s a small, very interdisciplinary program with a lot of momentum and growing attention, and I’m very excited to be heading back to school. What this all means is that for now, the photographic series, the form I’ve been working in for the last 4 years or so, will be put on hiatus as I continue experimenting in the studio. Photography is very much still part of my practice, just in a very different way.
This blog has always mostly been about photography; work and artists that I like, and the process of traveling and making work in coal country. Because I’m not working on those projects anymore, I’m not sure what this blog will house. It’s not dead, just tranisitioning.
In the meantime, if you click the drop down menu for categories in the side bar and select “Project: Southeast Ohio” you can see all the posts that detail the making of Plume. And here is a link directly to the old version of Digressions, and specifically all the posts related to the making of Removing Mountains. This was a lot of work.
There have been a lot of people who have read these posts and commented and wrote me emails over the years – thank you for your support. And again, thank you to all the people that financially made the work possible, those who bought prints every summer during the print sales.
For more frequent updates I have a Tumblr, and be on the look out for a majorly updated website in the next week or so.