Growing up outside of Dayton, Ohio during the eighties and nineties, I witnessed a change in the region resulting from the evisceration of American manufacturing. I grew up in what is described as a farming community, but most of the small family farms were already a thing of the past. I didn’t go to school with the children of farmers, the people I knew, their parents worked in factories where they made steel, and things like pickup trucks and corrugated boxes. Working in a factory was generational, just like their ancestors had farmed and been the children of farmers, workers at places like General Motors were the children of GM workers. Of course, people worked at other jobs too, but factory work was a staple of the economy, jobs at paper and steel mills paid for houses, groceries, and college tuitions, they granted opportunity.

The withdrawal of manufacturing and the subsequent creation of the rust belt not only littered the landscape with the ruins of empty manufacturing facilities, but the collapsed economy also created a dearth of ambition, that among other things, gave traction to a rising heroin epidemic. I think of the Midwest in the same way as light fades at night,
the receding is subtle but constant. The premise of my work is not to document a failing economy caused by the withdrawal of industry in the Midwest, rather, I’m interested in portraying lack, or the psychological void associated with this withdrawal.

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