“Water has its own archaeology, not a layering but a leveling, and thus is truer to our sense of the past, because what is memory but near and far events spread and smoothed beneath the surface.” – Ron Rash from Nothing Gold Can Stay.
Walker Evans pioneered the lyric documentary style nearly 80 years ago, and in doing so stated, “I’m sometimes called a ‘documentary photographer’ but… a man operating under that definition could take a sly pleasure in the disguise. Very often I’m doing one thing when I’m thought to be doing another.” This could be the most powerful thing a well-resolved photograph, one with a solid idea and structural elements, can accomplish. The viewer is inclined to believe what they are seeing to be true, especially when the photographer is astute at using a camera that is capable of resolving an incredible amount of detail.
With this in mind I have been photographing the landscape and people of South Carolina’s barrier islands and salt marsh communities with an eye for the transparent and poetic. The constant ebbing and flowing of the mighty Atlantic and her tidal estuaries create some of the richest and most productive land on earth. So much so, that it even seems to dictate the pace and trajectory of human life in areas that are far enough removed from the distracting rhythms of the city to be receptive to it.
The rural periphery of Charleston has been a rewarding place to make pictures; the storied landscape (part factual -part legend), continues to mystify and confound, ultimately shaping and driving the overriding poetic narrative in the work. This is my attempt to make photographs in a landscape that is informed, but not bound by history (American and photographic). Great works of art pertaining to the human condition and environment run a gamut of emotions, and I aspire that these photographs are no different, beauty, desire, loss, despair, and hope are all present, but in subtle and rewarding ways. Life is full of contradiction; here we see a historic landscape and culture fighting for autonomy and melding seamlessly with modernity in the same frame.
This work is not a documentary in the traditional sense of the word, but it does rely on similar tropes to visually relay ideas in a way that seems familiar and true to the viewer. The work occupies a gray area between fiction and non-fiction, art and documentary. The people and places I photograph are real, but the sequence and narrative I create are wholly subjective. I am motivated to make photographs that transcend what is actually photographed ultimately offering the observer a personal narrative of the extraordinary land and people of the tidal basin.