In 1998 I moved from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Adrian, Michigan. It was a summer of stark contrasts. I left a landscape with easy boundaries and public lands. I came to a landscape that was parceled, owned, and guarded. I left an architecture based on references to mud brick. I encountered an architecture based on Victorian sensibilities. I left hot, dry weather for a place where the atmosphere has a heavy, palpable presence. I gave up a healthy art community for wrestling and NASCAR. The last few years have been spent learning the space around me, negotiating the boundaries of this new built environment, and settling into a culture at once familiar and foreign.
These images are a visual response to that change. They are an effort to catalog a new environment as a means of comprehending it. They record tropes of small town living, such as county fairs, porches, monuments, parades, agriculture, and parks; ways in which such communities declare themselves. These tropes are signifiers to citizens of a shared history and to outsiders of a local value system. Photographing these signs constitutes an attempt to understand them and my place, or absence, in relation to them.