Jess' Kitchen Sink © kjm
This new project has me treading on some new creative ground. My personal work has always been a very solitary affair, mostly me by myself, making pictures. Lately, the Early Places work is intentionally created while I'm alone, and the Fast Food pictures are usually made when I happen onto closed restaurant. In my magazine work, it's quite the opposite - people are expecting my visit, and they know that the photos I make will end up in a magazine.
Contrast that with the act of driving unfamiliar back roads, knocking on doors, and asking people if you can photograph their house...
So I was a bit nervous going in, but everyone I met was friendly and willing to help. And I came to realize that the uncertainty, the interaction, the sharing of stories about the land and about family - this is a crucial part of the project. This is, after all, about family history, and about a specific place. I talked for hours about farming and the land - things I knew little of. People responded to my questions and curiosity with a surprising openness.
The best example might be the Prosser siblings (John, Judy, and Frank) who, in the midst of harvesting potatoes, allowed me photograph in their late father's house, which was once an internment camp barracks. I had a bit of difficulty explaining why photographs of his kitchen sink meant something to me and my work, but they were gracious and open.