Familiar Places, 2010
C-print, Dimensions Variable
When I moved to New York City, I would take pictures at night of abandoned areas. They had an eerie feeling that reminded me of my childhood days in the suburbs of Middle America. Taking my 6x7 and 4x5 cameras with me, I eventually went back to my hometown of suburban Kansas City to probe these very places.
I draw much inspiration from master Eugene Atget and color pioneer Stephen Shore and their focus on the ordinary. The houses in my pictures are not unlike those found in any new suburban development across the country. But for me, while comforting in their familiarity, they often feel anything but normal. The houses seem like stage sets, impermanent and empty. And although I am scouring my old backyard, I often feel like a foreigner in a strange land. This conflict is ultimately what has driven me to take these pictures.
I find that working at night with long exposures and large negatives serve to produce a densely-detailed image rendering a surreal quality to the landscape. The strange effects, like off-kilter shadows and extraterrestrial glows captured by the camera at night, lend these ordinary homes an air of the otherworldly.