Gustine (2007 - )
East of the Gabilan Mountains stretches the massive agricultural region known as the California Central Valley, and within this patchwork of nut orchards and tomato fields sits the town of Gustine. Initially, Gustine felt to me like a place where people lived because of habit or circumstance but not out of choice. It is hot, dusty and wide-open. However, the more time I have spent there, the more I have become aware of a simplicity that is compelling as well as an understated beauty. Perhaps it is nostalgia for the American rural community that I fostered as a kid through stories of towns with fields that stretched to the edge of one’s vision, and had names like Dassel, Crow Hassan and Blue Earth. My parents grew up in these sorts of places, while my own childhood flew past in the suburbs of Minneapolis. As a kid my parents told me their stories, which seemed too fantastic to possibly be true. Every adventure was played out within a community of interesting characters and took place against a landscape of wonderful possibilities. This project is not so much an attempt at faithfully documenting the town of Gustine and life there, but instead is a body of work that plays on my own myths of the American rural place.