Family time, passing us by

The community I came from is known as the Arkansas Delta. But growing up, I was always told I had to prepare myself to leave, and there was nothing for me in this region. There where social economic and cultural issues that backed up this viewpoint. I did move for eight years, but I have recently returned in a more permanent capacity. Out of all of my immediate family members, I am the only one still living in Arkansas. 

I use photography as a transformative process to understand place. To employ this practice, I use the technique of photographing in intervals, returning to the same circumstances, scenarios, people, and situations over and over again. Therefore, the work becomes more about time; the subject never changes but instead, the photograph explores the passage of time. Within this act, photography can become an illusion of instantaneous fragments, which also creates the chance for the reunion of relationships, kinship, and growth.

As a former photojournalist I’m always frustrated with the terminology of straight photography, documentary photography, even photojournalism as these terms often put what we do in a box and never really get at the root of what the work is doing or who is making it. I personally subscribe to the ideals and approaches of artists like Christenberry, Paul Graham and Zoe Leonard, most recently Jem Southam & Guido Guidi.

The multiple interests me, I’ve never bought into the decisive moment, though a romantic and sometimes ideal circumstance for a photograph but overall, I’m thinking about my experience as the maker, the before and after, what exists out side the frame. 


The five photos present in this post deal with the passing of time within my own family, within my life. The first image “Brother/Brother & Nephew Texas (2019) & Virginia (2018)” on the right this is my brother a few weeks ago when visiting Texas, the other in Virginia holding his son only a few weeks old, the day after out mother died. My nephew will grow up only knowing one of his grandmother’s as me and my brother did.

The image titled “Mom #1,2,3,4 2014-2018” is my moms battle with cancer, in the first image I don’t think either of us knew what was to come over the next few years, things change so fast. How could we ever compete with time and the changes it brings?

“Family Funerals 2013-2019 (Lancing, AR; Marion, AR) deal with growing up in Arkansas and obviously going to funerals, an absolutely different way I experience them as a photographer than when I was a child. As a child at funerals I spent most of the time clinging to my parents and listing to family oral history.

One of my favorite images out of this series is “Two Sides to Every Story (Paternal & Maternal Grand fathers)” to make a long story short both of my grandfathers where successful at what they choose to do with their lives but in a single moment I catch both of them doing the most common of things, cutting their lawns. My paternal grandfather on the left ran away from home to escape racism in the south and went on to become a lawyer and Judge. My grandfather on the right worked for other people may years and decided he didn’t want to and went into business for him self as a carpenter/contractor. There is more to both stories but this is not the place to share it.

And finally the last image “Dad & Grandad (2015 & 2019)”, how could you ever know the last time you will see someone? MY grandad has out lived two wives and his only two sons, I know he was never expecting something like this.

Using Format