Ryan Steed


It's Habit-Forming

When I began my ongoing series It’s Habit-Forming, I wanted to continue the exploration of the South I began with Went Out for Cigarettes, but to call into question more of the conflicted affinity I have about where I am from. There is no separating me from the South, and I wanted to wage war with the geography so central to my existence and identity. It is with this war that I began looking for the shared similarities I feel throughout the region and the dichotomy that results from this relationship.  

The South is a place and a culture, but it is also a concept; it is navigation with a broken compass. There is baggage with this journey, and it is inherited baggage; being a Southerner, I am aware that it must be carried. The South is a place both inviting and hostile. At times I feel included while other times I feel excluded. I find myself circumventing a landscape of mixed messages in a region that I call home. The core of this series is my response to questioning my identity within those surroundings.

In my search, I found the South to be steadfast in its predictability. Not all the antiques are stored in the attic. We can only dig so deep to bury what this land represents. Within this series, though geography may have varied, my connection to the land did not. In the same way smoking is habit-forming, I found myself orbiting this region again; I know I always will — it’s habit-forming.