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.