Photographic Observations of America’s Heartland
The idea for this series came to me while flying commercial airlines on assignments coast-to-coast. I always book a window seat as I enjoy seeing the world from the air during those long flights and became interested in trying to locate Hays Kansas, where my father was born; a place I had never been. He was born into a family whose Midwest farming roots extend back four generations. Frequent travelers often call the Midwest ‘Fly Over Country’, pull down their window shades, and dismiss the entire center of the United States as not worth looking at. I find that behavior curious as a great many people, my family included, hail from the heartland.
Pondering this, I decided to photograph land that made interesting compositions from the air, pulling out my camera as the Rockies faded into the distance and stowing it at the first sign of the Appalachians. After identifying the exact locations that I had shot from above by sifting through notes written on flight paths and spending countless hours cross-referencing Google maps, I hit the road. In all, twenty-five locations were visited by rental car on two road trips across Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa.
The project culminated in photographing my great grandparents’ farmsteads, one entirely abandoned and overgrown, and putting images to place-names that floated through the older generation’s conversations. Fly Over Country is my personal exploration and quest to show that beauty exists everywhere when viewed with honesty and respect… even from 30,000 feet.
Photographer: Spencer Brown
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 18, 2019, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Exhibition Dates: May 18th – June 28th, 2019
Location: McLaren Lodge, 501 Stanyan St, San Francisco, CA
Curator: Dave Christensen