And now for something completely different! While exploring New Mexico we received confirmation of an anticipated job photographing wind energy for a company we have worked for over the years. Here is a link to the Center for Art + Environment on my “Harnessing the Wind” portfolio of images and ephemera from shooting wind energy across America.
So, off we go! “Gig Economy” is a phrase that has become popular lately and one we find humorous, as this is how we have always made our living as did my father before me.
We will be photographing several utility grade wind farms across the country for the company’s tenth anniversary. This postpones our house hunting for the moment, but, we’ll be back at it next year when we’re finished with the project.
Clovis, New Mexico
After photographing two wind farms in New Mexico, we are now heading east across the Great Plains. We’re keeping to back roads and byways across this flat landscape, avoiding freeways as much as possible. This may take a lot longer and that’s the point, making frequent stops to create photographs along the way. We want to get to know more of this country.
Texico, New Mexico
Melrose, New Mexico
House, New Mexico
We have never considered living in the Midwest and this trip totally confirms it! When we set off on this expedition I didn’t even think I was interested in photographing what I thought was a boring landscape. Boy, was I wrong! I found the landscape to be an amazing place to create images. I would consider returning, as I found some places that I would like to spend more time exploring.
Tall Grass National Preserve, Kansas
We thank science and Mercedes for having a de-humidifier in the climate control system of our Sprinter as the humidity here is unbearable. At camp, we are incredibly uncomfortable especially when you add all of the insects! There are all kinds of insects, some are noisy, some are annoying, and most bite. Between the humidity and the bugs, we don’t get much sleep.
“Whatch ya’ll doin’ here?” is the most commonly heard phrase since heading across the backroads of the Midwest. Most folks we encounter are superficially friendly at best, but clearly not trusting of strangers. Others just glare at us with that “what the fuck are you doing here” look on their face (these people make us nervous). Once we explain we’re making photographs, they quickly want to know our religious affiliation and then where we stand politically to find out who we really are. Obviously, we dodge their questions, which generally confuses them. At this point they usually glaze over and the conversation ends… I understand not everyone is like this across the Midwest, especially in the cities. But, this is what we have encountered… Why do these things matter so much to everyone? I’m not interested in folks’ religious or political inklings, there are so many other interesting things to talk about… Like the weather!
Revival tents, religious slogans and confederate flags seem to be the best way to decorate yards in the rural Midwest which makes for fantastic fodder for plastic cameras! That means I have a lot of film to process. Common bumper stickers: “Not a Liberal” and “Spank your Children They Might grow up to be Democrats”. Common graffiti we’ve seen include “I (heart) JESUS” closely followed by “I (heart) TRUMP”. You get the idea. Makes one embarrassed to be American…
There’s a pervasive smell all across the Midwest. An unbelievably strong smell of animal excrement and death, topped off with a hint of agricultural chemicals. Just add a ton of humidity and insects on a flat landscape and you have rural Midwest living…
Still, it’s a fascinating place to photograph…
All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds