Heartland Hodgepodge: Short Stories by a Midwestern Gal


Why do you think nostalgia runs so deep in the region?

[Short Stories] Catch With My Dad

Do you think this false image might be self-created? I was living right in between both of those cities in Columbia when I started my photo series. My project called The New Country was a modern depiction of this experience. The photographs were mostly shot in Missouri, but also included some images from Kansas, Illinois, and Michigan. Nostalgia for the past has become part of the identity of rural America. Places are frequently defined by their histories. Overtime that identity morphs and blends with the present whether people want it to or not.

It is inevitable that things change, but it is understandable that people cling to notions of an idealized past. The way this manifests is sometimes contrived. One of reasons that the romantic notion of small town American still exists is an attempt at tourism.

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There was also a string of stores on that drive called Nostalgiaville, which sold cheap and stereotypical mementos. The impact of pop culture in these places was distinctly evident though. The way people dressed, the music on the radios, and the cars people drove did not fit the idealized image of the past. Recreation in the landscape also started to play a role in the project. Camping, off road vehicles, float trips, gun ranges, and things like dune rides were common activities that I found.

These activities quickly broke the illusion of the beautiful pastoral landscapes. They were contemporary ways of enjoying nature. People can get stuck in the past. History is important, but it can sometimes hold people back from also seeing the present. I try to be careful of using the word beauty, but my goal for the project was to capture the experience of embracing the past and present at the same time.

Heartland Hodgepodge: Short Stories by a Midwestern Gal

It was necessary to deconstruct idealized notions of rural American to see what life is like now in those places. I see many of the issues happening in Detroit and Flint as being a regional crisis. Each city has its own specific hardships, but there are also larger overarching themes related to the demise of the auto industry.

This project is scene through the faces of young people since they are a generation that can help bring change to the area or fall back into the cycle of hardship. The portrait of the boy on the scooter was taken in Flint. This spot was also in the driveway of a closed down school in a run down neighborhood.

I was interested in how young this boy looked and that he was wheeling around on this scooter by himself. I also really liked the red laces on his shoes. The picture of the guy with the backward red hat was also taken in Flint. This location was adjacent to the downtown river walk where I used to skateboard with my friends as a teenager. This image was also taken after the onset of the water crisis. The details of the text on the hat were of course the prime attraction to this person. My personal connection to this place made it easy to talk to this subject.

I generally find that talking about skating and music helps my subjects identify with me. This is an image taken in Detroit near the Woodbridge and Corktown neighborhoods. These are some of the areas of the city where I have photographed periodically for around 15 years. These neighborhoods are being quickly gentrified a few minutes away from this line of houses.

The work I have shot in Detroit commonly deals with the intersection of where new residents and original Detroit natives live in close proximity. This particular moment in this picture was one of those gifts from the photo universe where everything came together.

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It was shot with a large format film camera and originally did not have any people in it. I set up my equipment and had already shot a picture of just the scene. Then the boy with the red shorts walked up and agreed to be in the next shot. The other children happened to travel through the frame while I was waiting for the primary boy to relax in front of the camera.

This picture is one of my earliest portraits from Young Blood. I recently found the scan of this shot on my hard drive and fell in love with the image again. This photograph was taken along the Saginaw River in my hometown. This location in Saginaw is where people from both the eastside and westside of town come together to hang out on nice days.

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The city of Saginaw is split by the river, which divides a really poor part of town from the slightly better off area. People in these types of cities are commonly shown as victims or as others.

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I felt that this portrait captured the sweet personality of the girl and had an endearing sassiness to it. This portrait has a presence to it that shows her individuality. This part of Saginaw is another place where I hung out as a teen. I particularly respond to poetry.

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She currently lives in Philly. I like all her books, but False Spring resonates the most with my photographs.

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This book was written when she moved back to Saginaw after living in New York City. I had a similar experience of circumstantially moving home after grad school in San Francisco. False Spring eloquently captures the experience of living in an economically depressed city through the lens of personal relationships and self-reflection. Hinton has played a significant role in my project called Rumbleville. The Outsiders was one of my favorite books and movies growing up. Most of her nonfiction work has centered on features of people and places as well as news articles on a variety of subjects including legislative sessions, education and sports.

She graduated with a bachelor's degree from a university in Missouri and a master's degree from a university in Nebraska.

Midwestern Gothic – A Literary Journal

She and her family currently live in Nebraska with two purebred Shetland Sheepdogs. Are you an author? Help us improve our Author Pages by updating your bibliography and submitting a new or current image and biography. Learn more at Author Central. Popularity Popularity Featured Price: Low to High Price: High to Low Avg. Short Stories by a Midwestern Gal Jul 15, All Listings filter applied. Condition see all Condition. Item Location see all Item Location.

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