New American Photographs
For a long time now I have been thinking of creating a set of photos that show America from my point of view, much the same way Walker Evans did in the 30’s and Robert Frank did in the 50’s. Micheal Ormerod did much the same thing in the 80’s and 90’s and one should add in Stephen Shore and Joel Sternfeld. Both Frank and Ormerod were transplants t0 this country and documented America as outsiders. Their books were first published in Europe, The Americans in France and States of America by Ormerod in England. Shore and Sternfeld were more interested in making art than in creating a full picture of America. Now all these men made “Art” no question about it and I am awed and humbled by what they have accomplished. What I meant to say is that (especially in the case of Shore) there were specific photographic problems he was concerned with resolving and he was not trying to put on to film his soul, as overlaid on America, the way Robert Frank did.
I have mentioned this idea once or twice already and here I am stating it more fully. I am Puerto Rican and was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. My parents and grandparents came over in the 50’s from an Island that was conquered by the US. I am proud to be a citizen of this country but as a visible minority (along with blacks, asians, other hispanics, middle eastern, in short any minority whose primary difference is not there culture but their physical attributes) I tend to see America just a bit different than Robert Frank or Walker Evans did. I am an insider/outsider. There are parts of America that fill me full of trepidation when I contemplate going there. That is because I know their history and know what this country can be capable of. Yet these are the places that most interest me in visiting along with all of the middle America that I have barely seen. I have flown over but have never set foot in Kansas, Indiana, Kentucky or any of those quintessential Middle American states.
What will I see? How will I be received? It is a new day in America with the Obama administration finally getting into office but how is this change reflected on the streets of America? I will be photographing what I see and as I usually do try not to have any preconceptions when I am photographing. I will carry my camera hopefully and see.