Here's looking at you, Ottumwa

Next week I'm going to Ottumwa, Iowa. It's a small town and I love small towns. I was hired to photograph the place for a friend that wants to have a record, a solid memory of where she grew up. She's in North Carolina now, and once her parents move out of town, she won't really have a reason to go there any more.

I'm looking forward to making these photographs for her. Memory and photography are inextricable linked. And from what I've read about Ottumwa, it seems like the sort of place where I grew up. I still go back to my home town, but it's changed, really. It's twice the size it was when I lived there. I remember when McDonalds came to town. Now, the place is over-run with chain restaurants. I remember when the place got the third stop light. Now, one on every corner.

I wish I had more photographs of what my town looked like when I lived there. My elementary school has long been torn down. Now, there's a grocery store instead. And the old grocery store where we used to shop, just like the one in Gilbert Grape, it's gone too. In its place, Taco Bell.

I'm looking forward to making these photographs for my friend. And I'm looking forward to posting a few, here.

Maybe, my all time favorite picture

In 1999, I drove across the country with my friend, Brooke. We stopped in New Orleans and asked around about the best swamp tour. A lady in a travel kiosk directed us to a guy that didn't advertise, but she said knew more about the swamp than anyone in Louisiana.

This picture may be my favorite picture I've ever taken. For me, it does everything you want from a photograph. There's some mystery in that picture. It makes you wonder what happened the second before the shutter was released and what's going to happen the second just after it. And, because of all that, it keeps you looking at the image.

 New Orleans

New Orleans