After generations of photographers’ studies of rural life, in a world saturated with images, it may seem that there is little left to see or say about these spaces. Yet no project is capable of revealing the complete truth of a place. In my project, “Namesake Iowa,” I have traveled to over fifty towns with famous names to create a series of images that document rural Iowa.
The perception of photographic imagery has never been more perilous. Not only are still and moving images often assumed to represent absolute truth, they have seamlessly found their way into our memories. While I have never traveled to Moscow, Russia, just as I have not traveled to most of the locations on my list, my memories of what Moscow should look like influences how I depict Moscow, Iowa.
The methodology I employ to create “Namesake Iowa” is an acknowledgement that all of photography is limited by nature. Rather than shortcomings, these limitations are unique opportunities to reveal how photography can inform, delight and challenge the viewer. I have been surprised and inspired to discover that there is so much more to these places than the stereotypes about rural life I grew up believing. My camera is chronicling the accumulation of community, unique through shared experience. Every place I've traveled to looks and feels different. With the namesakes as a guide, I aspire to reveal truths about both Iowa and the nature of photography.