Archives for posts with tag: USA

nolan_conway_PhotographyDave Gooding, Liz Deno, and Shaggy (dog), from Georgia, are on their way to Montana. “You meet a lot of good people who like to help out, so when people do that,” Liz says, “it’s like a karma broker. You give people an opportunity to give good karma back.”

I have this image burned in my mind from middle school of an old beat up station wagon filled with someone’s belongings, parked way in the back of a Walmart parking lot. When I saw this scene it was winter in my hometown in Eastern Washington state and the car had plastic sheeting in the place of a missing window. I was a naive, relatively privileged kid, but I knew that someone would be shivering in that car that night, and it affected me. It was this memory that eventually led me to take photos of the people I came across in the parking lot.—Nolan Conway

Brooklyn photographer Nolan Conway spent three weeks exploring the culture of the United States’ largest retail chain and the people who loiter there. Waking Up at Walmart is a series of portraits featuring curious characters and vagabond tales, all clustered around the edge of various Walmart parking lots in Flagstaff, Arizona. Here is a world of loss, leisure and the occasional adventure. In a place where a failed economy and a corporate giant juxtapose, the common man still gathers to seek comfort in the fluorescent lights radiating 24/7. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Nolan Conway

nolan_conway_PhotographyJ.D. Gilkey sold the family home and has been driving around the country researching his family’s genealogy. He says his travels have brought him to 500 Walmarts in the U.S. and Canada. “Christmas of 2011, there were about nine of us in the Walmart parking lot in Albuquerque,” he says. “Christmas Eve I put a note on everybody’s door to come over in the morning, and I fixed Christmas breakfast for everybody.”

Nolan ConwayHeiko Bergman, from Germany, rented an R.V. with his family to tour the southwest. A nearby R.V. park was full the previous evening. The people who ran the R.V. park recommended that they try the Walmart parking lot.

nolan_conway_PhotographyFrom left: Megan Hoffman; Sophia Stauffer and her boyfriend, Alex Daby; Deanna Bunch and Kerouac (dog). They were traveling from Prescott, AZ, to Montana. Each of them plays at least one instrument, and they fund their travels by “jamming” on street corners. Sophia describes the nomadic life as an opportunity to “do what I want to do and not have to worry about all the bills and worry about what’s happening next.”

Nolan ConwayWilliam White was shipping store fixtures from a closed pet store in Flagstaff to Las Vegas. He gets good rest sleeping in Walmart lots. “When you have 40 or 50 trucks in a truck stop, it’s like trying to sleep in a beehive.”

nolan_conway_Photography“We sold everything we had and decided to find, as we put it, our American dream,” says Josiane Simpson. She, Jared Holfeltz, and their son Gabriel are currently living out of their car. Jared hopes to start a contracting business helping rebuild after natural disasters, but he recently hurt his wrist working a construction gig. So their dreams are on hold for a few weeks until his wrist improves.

nolan_conway_PhotographySheldon and Jacquie Britton from Phoenix, AZ enjoy their morning coffee by the gas fire in their “fifth wheel” camper trailer. They are on their way to Milwaukee for the 110th Anniversary of Harley-Davidson. “I have everything in there that I require without having to pack a suitcase and take it into a hotel,” Jacquie says. “I have full-size walk-in closet…I even have my china if we’re entertaining somebody.”

nolan_conway_PhotographyJack Spano and and Dawn Lovingood are Army veterans from Colorado. They are in Flagstaff visiting the veteran’s hospital.

nolan_conway_Photography“These are the best years of my life,” says retiree, Leroy Morris. He lives off social security in his small R.V. with his dog, Maggie. He spends summers in the Flagstaff Walmarts and winters in southern Arizona.

nolan_conway_PhotographyCaleb Goodaker-Craig from Austin, TX, a painter on an 11,000-mile solo bike trip. “I was riding through to check out Walmart, and I met an older guy who invited me for a glass of wine. He let me sleep between the truck and his R.V.”

nolan_conway_Photography“My wife threw me out, because I’m a drunk,” says Sal. “I drink too much vodka.” He currently works odd jobs and lives out of his pickup.

nolan_conway_PhotographyRick Keller, 75, says he doesn’t live in his R.V. for economic reasons, “I belong in the woods.” He lives in the woods, but comes to Flagstaff on weekends to restock. “I just pray that the Lord keeps me alive one more year, because these are such exciting times,” he says, referring to the Arab Spring.

nolan_conway_PhotographyStephen Pike and girlfriend Christina Plascencia are traveling north with no destination in mind. They started in Bisbee, AZ. They were kept awake by a street cleaner driving in circles through the parking lot the night before. Stephen says, “I think he’s a subliminal irritant—keeping us up, instead of asking us to leave.”

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Ackerman_Gruber_Photography

Our first trip to a county fair was all it took for us to be drawn in and to know it was something we needed to document. We have also always loved people watching and state fairs and county fairs attract a wide cast of characters. Throw in a camera and you are suddenly given permission to stare.
—Ackerman + Gruber

Minneapolis-based husband and wife photo team Ackerman + Gruber (Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber) have always been intrigued by Americana. After moving to the Midwest three years ago, they were interested in exploring the fair culture that they had heard so much about. During their first year in the Midwest, they spent time driving around the state visiting small county fairs, embracing mini-donuts, pork chops on a stick, 4-H animals, and demolition derbies in all their splendor in an ongoing series entitled Blue Ribbon. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Ackerman + Gruber

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Photo: Juan Madrid

Welcome to Flint is the ongoing collaborative project between New York-based photographers Juan Madrid and Brett Carlsen and their two different takes on a city presently known as the most dangerous in the U.S. Last year Carlsen spent the summer working as an intern at the Flint Journal. That’s when he reached out to Madrid and the two began working on the project, each taking multiple trips to Michigan to soak up as much Flint as possible, although rarely shooting together. While their style and approach differs—Madrid from a fine art background and Carlsen a photojournalist—they complement each other with a mix of that stumble-upon feel and a sense of looking behind closed doors. “I’m shooting it the way I find it, just the city I love in all its good and bad glory,” Carlsen says. “I’m very good at talking to people, I’m brutally honest and I think people in a place like Flint can see that, as they don’t usually have time for bullshit.” Carlsen bounces around a few different groups of people, spending time with “strippers, drug dealers, rappers, recovering addicts, police officers and everything in between.” Madrid says their approaches are on opposite ends of the spectrum, “as a photojournalist, Brett tends to find subjects to follow for a longer period of time than I do. I wander around the city and talk to strangers, often brief (and sometimes powerful) encounters that leave me with an impression of the people of Flint.” Madrid especially remembers when he met the man with the “Lost Soul” tattooed on his face. He had spent 10 years in prison for a gang-related murder he committed at 18. Now determined to change his lifestyle, “he made sure to tell me what the tattoo meant; it wasn’t that he was a lost soul, but that all of us are, if we don’t care. And if we don’t care, we’re better off dead,” Madrid recalls. The collaboration sounds like a dynamic one, the two working to inspire and challenge the other, sending wide edits to each other to discuss the direction they’re independently headed—together. “I wouldn’t say it is on purpose but we kind of have this in mind while working on the project; he is going to photograph in his way and me in mine as to get more depth than if we did one or the other,” says Carlsen. One thing is certain, these two photographers have found a place that they want to share, capturing a portrait of a city at the top of the list in violence and economic hardship, while mindful to shed light on what positive lies between. “The original plan was to have me photograph the good parts of Flint while Brett photographed the bad. I think it’s evolved a lot since then, with each of us capturing both good and bad but also moving beyond that to weaving a more complex narrative that isn’t about absolutes.” And isn’t it just that, the power of stories unfolding in nuanced ways, people and place taking the reigns if you let them. Welcome to Flint. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Juan Madrid and Brett Carlsen

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Photo: Brett Carlsen

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Photo: Brett Carlsen

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Brooklyn-based photographers Eva O’Leary and Harry Griffin have wanted to collaborate for some time. Devil’s Den, their forthcoming book, started as a conversation on a road trip they took from Florida to Pennsylvania. They began to imagine the epic scale of the Battle of Gettysburg. Something about the ‘act of reenacting’ struck a chord, both the theatricality of the battle and the popularity of sensationalized violence. As they drove from the south to the north, many questions came up. What does it mean to reenact a battle without the gore, avarice, and blood of war? Is it a celebration of the birth of the country as we know it, or an escape from a national environment of deep-seated uncertainty, division, and debt? They say of the project, shot during the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: There’s something fascinating about the spectacle of this event, the collision between old and new. With 300,000 tourists and 15,000 reenactors, it’s a huge commercial draw for the small town (pop. 7,000). When you’re there, the battlefield almost feels like a replacement for a huge sports stadium, fully equipped with grand stands and concessions. The town revolves around 1863, and survives on the economic bubble of war tourism. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Eva O’Leary and Harry Griffin

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Mario Testino

Jennifer Lawrence is photographed by Mario Testino and styled by Tonne Goodman for American Vogue, September 2013. Taken from Fashiontography

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Emily_Berl_Photography

My main criteria for photographing these people is that Marilyn has to be a large part of their lives, either as a profession or something they personally draw inspiration from. I’m less concerned about how much they look like Marilyn and more concerned about their motivations for becoming her. The women I have met through this project want to portray the real Marilyn, not the overly sexualized, overly simplified version of her.—Emily Berl

Marilyn is a series that began as a way for photographer Emily Berl to explore her new home of Los Angeles after living on the east coast for her entire life. After she moved, she started thinking about what LA represents to people and why they are drawn there, coming to the conclusion that it all leads back to the idea of the “Hollywood Dream” and how people have been chasing it for generations. Berl turned to celebrity icon Marilyn Monroe as the ultimate symbol of that dream and began photographing people who dress as Marilyn. Some are actors who consider playing Marilyn as a role. Others are life-long fans that impersonate her as a way of paying tribute to and protecting the legacy of the icon they love. Some even find such strong personal connections to Marilyn’s story that they feel impersonating her is inevitable. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Emily Berl

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Mikael Jansson

Amber Valletta is photographed by Mikael Jansson for American Vogue, August 2013. Taken from Fashiontography

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Brooklyn-based photographer Sara Cwynar’s ‘Color Studies’ series is a contemporary take on traditional still life – composed in a playful, yet meticulous way. Cwynar was partially inspired by her love of collecting, but also by her desire to investigate how the meaning of objects and imagery changes over time. We recently spoke to Cwynar about this series. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Sara Cwynar

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How did this project come about?
“This series was inspired by old or obsolete stock photos that I had collected – where something once desirable and cutting-edge had come to look absurd or even sinister. I am very interested in this idea, the way that images change over time and take on a life of their own, gaining or losing value as they circulate. I began the series as a means of delving further into this sort of image, remaking them under my own terms using my own collected materials. I used the category of color as a sort of visually immediate organizing principle through which to investigate this type of image using my own archive or collection.”

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What were you trying to achieve?
“I think as you work different goals often come up, but initially it was to work through these discarded images using everyday or useless images and objects, to question what is worth taking a picture of and what kind of picture maybe have disappeared from our purview in favor of something newer. Also, simply as a means of organizing my personal archive or collection in a way that could open to larger ideas about image culture. Art is a means for me of working through my saved materials and my hope for it is that this private collection opens to bigger ideas through the making of work.”

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Was there a process for sourcing all the items?
As I mentioned, I am a constant hoarder, I save things everywhere I go and then when I am making work I have this huge repository of saved images and objects to pull from. My studio is just packed with stuff. It comes from everywhere, the garbage, scraps of images from other projects, flea markets, by the pound stores, my parents’ basement.

How did you approach the arrangement of all these objects?
‘Largely just through moving things around in the studio for hours and hours! And I am trained as a graphic designer, I still work in this field sometimes, so I always tip my hand as a designer. I think that sensibility comes through in the pictures.

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Adrienne_Grunwald_Photography

There was something truly New Jersey-esque about the track and the people who hung out there—a theme which I have been exploring in a wider context for several years now. I spent a lot of days and nights hanging around that place, getting to see all aspects of the track lifestyle. The same people showed up to keep it alive, against all odds.—Adrienne Grunwald

From a young age, New York-based photographer Adrienne Grunwald had a fascination with the racetrack around the corner from her New Jersey home. She always found herself trying to catch a peek of the action over the fence as she drove by it on the highway. Now as an adult, Grunwald finds herself being drawn back to the track in her series Betting Something for Nothing. In it she attempts to preserve the track’s place in time, explore something from her own past, and capture both the life and death of such an iconic pastime. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Adrienne Grunwald

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Rian_Dundon_Photography

This project grew out of my existing personal relations—mostly people I grew up with who I hadn’t seen since high school. Coming home I found people dealing with everyday issues: employment, housing, family. Some were in a state of recovery or relapse into addiction. A few had been locked up. I saw in them some reflection of the dislocation I was feeling: not just with returning home after years away but with this growing sense of loss that perhaps is the natural company of aging. These weren’t the innocent kids I had grown up with and I didn’t know how to reconcile my former associations with home with the new reality I had returned to. It was like I had missed the intervening chapters of an alternate life and was now walking in on its aftermath. The good years had happened without me.—Rian Dundon

When photographer Rian Dundon returned home in 2012 after six years photographing in China, he felt adrift. He knew it was time to go back to California, but he’d been away so long he wasn’t sure what California meant anymore. So he decided to figure it out through his camera. His attraction to the menace, potential, and finality of the place—the Westward limit of these expansive United States—made him look at that particularly American blend of individualism and isolation as it applied to his friends and himself. His photographs present an unsettling series of threadbare cultural symbols, worn landscapes, and youth just past. Taken from Feature Shoot

All images © Rian Dundon

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