This project was created in direct response to the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States in 2016. I was keenly aware that the results of the election were a threat to our democracy, and I saw the increasing cultural, economic and political divisions in our country as a root cause.
I am sensitive to the stereotyping and contempt that occurs on both the left and the right. In my experience, people from rural, working class, and underserved backgrounds are much more thoughtful and informed than how they are portrayed. The same can be said those on the opposite end of the social-economic and political spectrum. To break down these stereotypes I set out to photograph and interview people from various backgrounds across the country. I wanted to find out, in their own words, what they value, who they voted for, and why. I interviewed over 100 people. I met them at bars and college campuses. I rented a table at a flea market, drove into the rural areas of West Virginia, stopping to talk and photograph anyone who would allow me.
In post production, I selected and combined two portraits. I did this to create the illusion of a single person, while retaining the identities of both individuals. In the background are stories pulled from their interviews. They are identified by their first names, where they are from, their occupation, how they voted, and the date interviewed. When printed, the images measure 20 x 20”, a reference to perfect vision and to the future 2020 election.
This series consists only of these two completed works. As the political climate in the United States worsened, I felt the need to reconsider my objective. I intend to revisit the portraits and interviews in the future, perhaps with a different focus and intention.