Residents of Evansville, Indiana, a medium-sized city situated near an oxbow in the Ohio River, identify at once as being part of the American South and within the territory of the Midwest. The third-most populous city in the state, this ‘River City’ is at odds with itself: plagued by the collapse of American industry, Evansville clings to outdated technology while yearning for innovation and revitalization. Produced over an 11-month period while living in Evansville, Vice is a photographic series that presents and confounds the visual conflicts in this centrally-located, right-of-center place.
Flanked in 3 directions by coal-burning power plants, the air in Evansville is potent enough to pollute cities in the Northeast. It is populated by big pick-up trucks, concealed carry permits, blue collars, red politics, and a vague kind of lawlessness that haunts middle America’s failing industry towns. Drivers are reckless, food is fast, and the landscape is perennially exploited by big energy companies clinging to twentieth century ideals. Yet, despite these industrial and political pitfalls, Evansville is rich with sublime light, lush terrain, deep-seated loyalties, and small-town charm. Through photographs, I depict and describe these contradictions while formulating a poetic reimagining of place. By closely observing the visual character of Evansville, Indiana, the resulting body of work presents a figurative photographic identity of the region.