The subject of this series-- titled “frontier”-- is not so much about being in the middle of nowhere, as the images may first imply, but rather being at the edge of nowhere, looking out into it. There is a certain fear of the wilderness in American culture dating back to the Puritans, which was brought with them from the Old World. Seen as a moral vacuum without the benefits of civilization, the wild-ness needed to be fenced off from the towns and farms, and methodically conquered as the pioneers headed west. There was a definite line between Here, and Out There.
Today, with most wilderness gone, it could be argued that the area most Americans fear and dread is not the furthest West, but the center of the country-- not the ruggedly beautiful deserts west of the Rocky Mountains, but the incredibly flat and empty High Plains region of western Kansas and Nebraska, eastern Colorado, and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. To most people, it is a region to be flown over, or driven through—stark and often desperate.
To me, it is starkly beautiful. Although not wilderness-- it is almost entirely farmed or ranched-- it is remarkably empty, and dwellers from more urban areas who stop or even move here have a hard time adjusting to the place. It is largely silent, and surrounded by serious horizon. I enjoy this.
My intent with this series is to portray the last little bit of built environment (including some interiors), of familiarity, in a given location, and to also look out beyond it to the big empty nothing that goes on for miles. These little places-- RV parks, rest areas-- seem incredibly lonely if you imagine yourself leaving them behind and venturing into the vast emptiness; however, if you image being stranded “out there”, then these places would be where civilization actually “starts”. It feels a little safer, somehow.