I have to thank Bob Holstrom for coming all the way down to Moweaqua to visit the new gallery. I met Bob while speaking at the ROMEO club of Decatur (Retired Old Men Eating Out) when I was making community appearances as Miss Illinois Galaxy 2008. Bob has been with the Herald and Review since 1948 and has met a good story or a million in his day 🙂 I knew he was on his way to visit the Panama Canal on a cruise, so I was so glad he could fit me in to his schedule before taking such an amazing trip.
I just found out that the write-up for the studio has been added to the Herald and Review website, and I hope to make a few corrections before the paper is published tomorrow, mostly because I won’t have a chance to clear them up otherwise. I would hate to give anyone the wrong impression of what this is all about… The question is where do I begin?
First of all, my MFA thesis project about Moweaqua was not an assignment given by the Rural Documentary Collection. This specific program has existed at Illinois State for the past 30 years, headed by photographer Rhondal McKinney. The goal of the RDC is to document life in rural communities, the people, places and surroundings as they grow and change in an ever changing world. I chose Moweaqua not because my family has been here forever, but because I grew up here and my family has always been here. I have literally fell in love again with my hometown by photographing it.
Second of all, I don’t want to attract people to the gallery to be photographed per se. The gallery exists in order to show the work I am making concerning the people and places in Moweaqua today (and for the family portraits that I do as a studio photographer). Anyone who wants to be interviewed has my full attention regardless of the damn gallery. And to correct the quote “Photography will be my career”… photography is and has been my career for the past 8 years. I don’t teach and make work for my health. I do it because I love it.
Also, I would like to state for the record that I was never a waitress in Brazil. Dear lord, I wish I had! Nor do I ramble my stupid accomplishments from the past 10 years like a laundry list (by the way, I was also a wreath maker at 4-Es Christmas Trees, a jewelry girl at Von Maur and a translator at ADM… did I leave anything off my resume?). I had hoped this interview would be about the work, the town, the gallery to show the work… and in a way, it touches on those aspects.
Finally, this work did not come to me “suddenly” as I have spent the past 6 years photographing in the Midwest. Thousands of negatives, countless hours in the car. It has been a slow, dedicated artistic process of creating a body of work that I am dedicated to with all my heart and soul, that I hope people connect with and that I hope does some good to bring light to an amazing period and place in our strange world.
It’s not that I’m disappointed by the article, I just think it misses the point. Our conversation was about the artwork, about the community. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, and that’s where the artist in me loses out to the small town girl in me. I still do worry about what people will think.
And by the way Herald & Review, if you need a writer and photographer interested in the Midwest while Bob is on his cruise, I’m for hire.