In 1938 Walker Evans and The Museum of Modern Art published American Photographs. The book came to be the foundation of photography in America. Two decades later Robert Frank would come out with another seminal American photography book, The Americans. It is no surprise that Walker Evans mentored Frank and even wrote parts of his Guggenheim application. For a time American Photographs was Robert Frank’s bible. These two books have had enormous influence on the subsequent generations of photographers. Through the years many photographers have followed in the footsteps of these giants. From Joel Meyerowitz, and Gary Winogrand in the 60’s to Stephen Shore in the 70’s to Joel Sternfeld in the 80’s to Paul Graham today. All owe an enormous debt to Walker Evans and Robert Frank.
There is a new America today, ushered in with tumbling towers and reckless war conducted by feckless leaders, unmindful of American legacies. Then a historic transition of power, giving the responsibilities of leadership to the son of slaves. The rest of this American century will unfurl from this. How does the fact of a black President play out on the streets of Middle America?
I am documenting this New America. Unlike the photographers mentioned above I am very visibly the son of recent immigrants. My olive skin and black hair and beard make this obvious. One’s background informs and influences how the world is perceived. The fact of being a minority gives me a very different perspective than those of any other photographer that has taken on the task of surveying this country. I have photographed and travelled mostly in the East from Rochester, NY to Miami, Fl and to a lesser extent on the West Coast. But have not yet ventured into the heart of America. The America of god and guns, of farms and family. My photographs will attempt to not only document this America but also will be a record of a blue outsider in the red interior of this country. I tend to doubt this dichotomy though and hope to discover not color and ideology but individuals and humanity.