Location: Lexington, KY, United States
I am not an objective observer I have never pretended to be. That statement of mine was published in a photography publication over 25 years ago. I can still hear the gasps from those who were stunned by my statement. My thoughts have not changed, only solidified. I am a visual storyteller, focusing on those communities that you might not know but should.
From the hopes and dreams of Obama to the newly installed security cameras on most of the country churches. This is a story about survival in spite of everything.
My project is called The Homeplace; a visual record of people and place in a changing American landscape.
In the decade after the Civil War African American settlements sprang up around the horse farms in Kentucky’s six-county Inner Bluegrass Region. These villages—or hamlets, as they have come to be known—were originally inhabited by freed slaves who were needed to work on the area farms.
Today, many of the residents are descendants of the freed men and women who founded them. In some cases, as many as seven generations of a family have lived in succession on a “homeplace” in these communities.
There are many things these hamlets share, ministers, tobacco, hog killings, friends and relatives but most importantly they share a great history. The Homeplace is comfort. The place you can go back to no matter how many years have passed. It will always hold something familiar something safe.
These days I find myself photographing more homegoings (funerals) than homecomings. There is no greater honor than having a photograph I have made used in an obituary or homegoing program. The last memory, is the true reward.