I have spent the majority of my life burning gasoline in high-mileage trucks, chain-smoking cigarettes, listening to music out of bad speakers and pulling over repeatedly to explore and reexamine the place I come from, the place I call home, the American South. It is clear to me — it's clear to anyone the moment I speak and reveal my accent — that there's no separating me from the South. For this reason, I find myself wanting to fight, argue, throw punches, and take shots with this geography so central to my existence and identity. I want to examine the love, hate, sadness, celebration, beauty, and cruelty of this place. I want to survey the scars and ice the knuckles. I am starting a fight with the conflicted affinity I have with where I am from, only to dust one another off and when possible, shake hands and offer to buy another round.
This land is family, and you fight with family. You fight even harder when you love them. These images and titles are an investigation of my identity within my surroundings and the dichotomy that results from this relationship; they are a reckoning and deconstruction of place. I cannot deny that these landscapes are often a reflection of myself, a stand-in for a self-portrait; in part to discover the importance of knowing who you are not, compared to who you are. I am navigating my home to better understand why I am here, and why I am not leaving. These images are proof of the argument, a view of the fight.
Exploring identity and sense of place is a lifelong pursuit, and I am not so bold as to think this series is complete or that the fight is over. With a swollen eye, I can smile with the knowledge that this landscape is a constant education and ongoing fight, and I will never tire of learning its lessons. I know I will find myself orbiting this region again; I always will — it's habit-forming.