Midwest Dirt is a body of work that tells a story of my mid twenties and my midwest. More than just snapshots from the midwest this project is about a time in my life where I return home after a long absence. The work is about returning home, at the same time longing for where I had been. It's the feeling of calm and quiet that only my native midwest and those people I love who live there have ever provided me. The themes that I explore will not only intrigue viewers who want to see a glimpse of midwestern american life but anyone who has left home or longed to leave.
Midwest Dirt or parts of it have appeared online in Burn magazine, Fraction magazine and various other places . Now I have begun the process of bringing it into the real physical world of print.
While I have been hard at work on this project many have joined me as collaborators along the way. David Alan Harvey (Magnum, Burn) and Brandon Tauszik(Sprinkle Lab) both helped with direction early in the project. David made the first edit when the essay appeared on Burn. Now the project is being edited by Matt Johnston (The Photobook Club) who has helped translate this large body of work into a beautiful photobook awaiting print. Jennifer Gonzales (2013 Pulitzer Center student fellow) has offered her services as a designer to help bring it into the physical world. Now you the viewer are the latest to come on as collaborators.
When you help fund the project you will be helping me with the cost of printing and designing the book. I will be using print on demand technology to make a softback book with great custom and handmade packaging. The innovative handmade casing made for the project will give the book a distinct midwest feel. It will set it apart from other print on demand projects.
When you choose to back this project I have come up with some great rewards to send you. I have included various prints as well some slices of midwest culture from my home to yours. My Grandma and Mom have even agreed to share some hand written recipes for some lucky supporters. These can be found in the " We might be food" book but I'll send one as a bonus to the first ten supporters. I have also included some options to meet me and either share a beer on my porch or attend a special presentation of midwest dirt at a bbq. I especially hope you will consider pre ordering the Midwest Dirt book.
When I was 18 years old I packed my bags and left rural Illinois. It had been my home my entire life, but I thought in leaving I would find the perfect place for myself elsewhere. In the city everything and everyone I knew was very different from what I knew back home and yet at the same time familiar. The wild and restless days of my youth were in full swing. But when I awoke those mornings I still expected to see my old midwestern life.
Where I was living wasn’t exactly the wrong place for me, and at its core my life wasn’t drastically different, but it wasn’t home.
I came back home to live almost a decade later. I still have no idea if this time I will stay for good, I don’t know if that will ever happen.
The wild restless days and nights haven’t ceased.
Some nights when I lay down in my bed and close my eyes I fantasize that I didn’t ever return. I dream that I could get right back up and go over to my corner bar in the city and have a drink looking out on the crowded street.
But I’m not there. I’m here. In the country.
Now it’s just after harvest time, my favorite time of year. The fields are almost cleared and I’m barefoot on my porch with a beer in my hands. I can see for miles.
This project is about a time in my mid twenties when I can feel the tension between home and away.