These photographs represent my exploration of the
country I see everyday. By focusing upon people I
meet wherever I go, I hope to see America more
truthfully than commercial media describes it. That
media being mostly engaged in manufacturing our
addiction to Celebrity and escape from reality.
Seeing a mediated fantasy world dominated by
Celebrity every day of our lives, I believe that we begin
to see those people and that world as having greater
significance even than ourselves. So which is the real
America? The one advertised, or the one we live in and
see when we stand on the corner and look around,
wherever we are in America?
The truth is, hiding the American people in plain sight
seems to make sense for some. Politicians do not
have to deal with outrage from a united electorate
recognizing the extent of common cause, demanding
to been seen as they really are, heard and stood up
for. CEOs don't have to worry that Americans might
realize they are being increasingly impoverished, not
just economically, but morally and spiritually by living
to consume cheap goods made in poor countries
while the American Dream of a reliable job, a home and
opportunity for a better life is systematically taken
apart for profit.
Main Street is losing the battle with wall street and the
American people are losing the battle to make the
American economy and American society work for
Political corruption and economic and social betrayal
is mostly unrepresented by commercial media, either
as news or entertainment. Just as state run media in
places like Russia and China distorts the image of a
nation and it's people for political purposes, so too
does corporate owned mass media in America. Here it
is done to keep selling a way of life most Americans
can no longer even afford.
What is celebrated everyday in America on television,
in movies, magazines and newspapers, is something
that mostly bears no resemblance to the people who
walk the streets and live the lives of actual Americans.
In commercial media we see a constant stream of
movie and TV actors, professional athletes, stars of
the music industry, politicians, captains of industry,
drunken, drug addicted debutantes and "Reality TV"
stars. In other words, Celebrities.
We also see a landscape behind Celebrities. But it is
not often the run down, abandoned one of so much of
America’s inner cities and rural areas. It is usually
about Americas wealthiest minority and the well
groomed, comfortable landscape of their lives. We are
distracted by these shiny happy images from seeing
the streets and back roads of America as they actually
are. It feels good to escape. After awhile the fantasy of
America feels more real than what we see every day.
It takes a disaster, like Hurricane Katrina destroying
New Orleans to bring the condition of real Americans
into the commercial media’s eye for a short time. Then
Americans and the rest of the world are shocked to
see what America is actually becoming. The truth is,
poverty and social decline thrive in every major
American city, and across the countryside too.
From small towns and rural areas to suburbs and
inner cities Americans are not represented truthfully
by mass media. We are also not honestly represented
(in a somewhat different sense) by those charged with
standing up for us in the political and economic battle
that is government. Does absence of truthful
representation in media go hand in hand with absence
of truthful representation in government?
It is possible that democracy in America, like the way
we are represented by mass media, has for some time
been becoming more fantasy than reality. Any
resistance to this loss of truthful representation can
only begin with truthful vision of ourselves.
Uncelebrated is a photographic project done in the
belief that unless we are able to look at ourselves and
each other honestly, we may not make the best
choices in our lives. We may not know who we really
are. We may identify with the rich, even though most
Americans, despite prevailing myths to the contrary,
are increasingly impoverished economically, but
culturally too. For all of us, nothing is more personal