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Jacob Martz

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Bloomington native, Jacob Martz, has been making pictures for three years and is currently enrolled at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis, Iniana. Jacob finds beauty in the small, unnoticed aspects of life.


Downtown Bloomington, In., Nov. 22, 2013.

Downtown Bloomington, In., Nov. 22, 2013.

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Bloomington, In. June 3, 2015.

Bloomington, In. library, March 11, 2015.

Bloomington, In. library, March 11, 2015.


Chelsea Sanders

 

Photo by Andrew Grodner

Photo by Andrew Grodner

Chelsea Sanders is a commercial and editorial photographer based in Bloomington, Indiana and is the creative force behind Blueline Media Productions. “The passion is in my soul. I’d be dead if I didn’t have an avenue or medium to get out all this nonsense in my head,” she says of her work.

http://bluelinestyle.com/


Portrait session. Sept. 2, 2010.

Portrait session. Sept. 2, 2010.

Bathroom. Aug. 31, 2010.

Bathroom. Aug. 31, 2010.

Wedding party, Indianapolis, In. Jan. 29, 2009.

Wedding party, Indianapolis, In. Jan. 29, 2009.


The Midwest as a Rural Fantasy
A mowed field Sept. 15, 2015 near Steeleville, Ill. – Isaac Smith

A mowed field Sept. 15, 2015 near Steeleville, Ill. – Isaac Smith

What gets lost in that stylization is people

A still lake. An orchard row. A sunset cornhusk. A floured wooden slab.

To a slew of young “creatives” who are choosing to stay put in midwestern cities (or return to them from coastal forays) images like these are the new signs of the midwest. These curated glimpses into simple, natural scenes constitute a well-intentioned departure from the midwest’s fast-food-eating, big-box-shopping, casserole-baking reputation. By visually refashioning the region into a pristine natural playground in digital and print media, they seem to say, “Look, coastal snobs! The midwest, too, has beauty!”

Indeed, the images are beautiful. The lake and the orchard are serene, inviting, captured in their perfect light. The husks and the slab are exalted objects, taken from mere household function into a realm of pure aesthetic form.

Salvador Fabcan sorts through apples brought by pickers in the field Sept. 1 2015 on Rendleman Orchard in Alto Pass. – Isaac Smith

Salvador Fabcan sorts through apples brought by pickers in the field Sept. 1 2015 on Rendleman Orchard in Alto Pass. – Isaac Smith

But something gets lost in this new midwest aesthetic—the region’s specificity, its lived cultures, the diversity of its people and scenes. What is purported to identify and define the midwest in fact feels indistinct. Latching onto a now-mainstream trend of #authentic living, these images’ insistence on simple, classic beauty whitewashes a midwest that could be shown in more multifaceted, and perhaps more interesting, lights.

For at least a decade now, we have seen the rise of “authenticity” as a style. New Yorkers invest in work boots, Carhartt jackets, and utility bags, elevating a downhome American sense of practicality into a citydweller’s luxury. The clothing trend matches a move in photography and advertising toward rustic simplicity. (Think Kinfolk magazine, which has become a touchstone for designers and creative directors.) For midwestern media to take up this style, which was to some extent already a romanticization of their region, is to peddle in an “authenticity” that was projected onto the heartland by coastal borrowers in the first place. And it is to broadcast not a place but a style.

Rich Walter sweeps corn off of the street Aug. 24 after loading a truck at Gateway FS in Evansville, Ill. – Isaac Smith

Rich Walter sweeps corn off of the street Aug. 24 after loading a truck at Gateway FS in Evansville, Ill. – Isaac Smith

What gets lost in that stylization is people—the kin and the folk. Who are the people at the lake—and who didn’t make it there that day? Who are the people visiting the orchard—and who owns it, who tends it, who buys the fruits of their labor? Who is husking the corn and preparing the meal? In replacing one image of the midwest with a supposedly more appealing one, the promoters of this new aesthetic leave out the specific identities, relationships, and stories that make up midwestern communities.

– Midwest native, Lindsay Welsch, currently lives in Bloomington, In. where she teaches freshman writing as a visiting lecturer at the Indiana University. She received her PHD in english in May 2015. 


Isaac Smith

Photo by Steve Matzker

 

Isaac Smith is a multi-platform journalist living and working in southern Illinois. With a strong belief in documenting one’s own  backyard, he is dedicated to telling the story of community through photographs, audio, and video. He has received honors from the Illinois Press Photographers Association and the Illinois Press Association.

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Josh waits for a tow March 30, 2015 outside Clear Creek Christian Church in Clear Creek, In.

Josh waits for a tow March 30, 2015 outside Clear Creek Christian Church in Clear Creek, In.

A sorghum field near Gorham, Illinois Sept. 1, 2015.

A sorghum field near Gorham, Illinois Sept. 1, 2015.

Allen Couch waits with 104-year-old Vera Calhoun-Russell June 19, 2013 at Cape Foot Clinic in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Allen said caring for his 104-year-old mother-in-law is a task he is honored to do. He said when he fell in love with his wife, Janice Russell-Couch, he knew he was there to be with her and help her care for her mother. “It’s like God said, ‘This is where you belong. You are needed there,’” Allen said.

Allen Couch waits with 104-year-old Vera Calhoun-Russell June 19, 2013 at Cape Foot Clinic in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Allen said caring for his 104-year-old mother-in-law is a task he is honored to do. He said when he fell in love with his wife, Janice Russell-Couch, he knew he was there to be with her and help her care for her mother. “It’s like God said, ‘This is where you belong. You are needed there,’” Allen said.


Nathan Pearce

 

photo by Steve Matzker

photo by Steve Matzker

Nathan Pearce is a photographer based in Southern Illinois. He also works in an auto body repair shop. “I am a photographer and also a photobook and zine maker. I do the latter because in our digital world photographs are rarely printed. There is something really special about seeing your work in print now. My work focuses on the Midwest and my experience in it,” he says of himself.

nathanpearce.tumblr.com


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Mat Kuhlig, Flora Illinois, April 2014.

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Centralia Illinois, May 24th 2015.

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Centralia Illinois, May 24th 2015.


Steve Matzker

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Steve Matzker is a southern Illinois based photographer. He is currently working on a Master’s of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University with an emphasis in documentary filmmaking. He has published work for both the Chicago Tribune and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.


 

A teenage boy jumps off a rock during the summer of 2014 at Giant City State Park in southern Illinois.

A teenage boy jumps off a rock during the summer of 2014 at Giant City State Park in southern Illinois.

Signs of a successful duck hunt and the subsequent cleaning of the birds prior to storage after a November 2013 hunt in southern Illinois.

Signs of a successful duck hunt and the subsequent cleaning of the birds prior to storage after a November 2013 hunt in southern Illinois.

Dr. John “Jack” Whitlock stands in his Carbondale, Ill. home dressed in his Marine Corps League Auxiliary uniform in July of 2014. Whitlock was awarded the Illinois State Marine of the Year in June of 2014 in Springfield during the Marine Corps League 70th Convention. Beginning in 1956 Whitlock served five years in the Marine Corps Reserve and joined the Illinois Marine Corps League in 1995.

Dr. John “Jack” Whitlock stands in his Carbondale, Ill. home dressed in his Marine Corps League Auxiliary uniform in July of 2014. Whitlock was awarded the Illinois State Marine of the Year in June of 2014 in Springfield during the Marine Corps League 70th Convention. Beginning in 1956 Whitlock served five years in the Marine Corps Reserve and joined the Illinois Marine Corps League in 1995.


Wisconsin Postcards
Sunset over looking the Red Arrow Plant along the Manitowoc River. Manitowoc, WI June 28th, 2015 – Cameron Hoerth

Sunset over looking the Red Arrow Plant along the Manitowoc River. Manitowoc, Wis. June 28th, 2015 .– Cameron Hoerth

Adventuring under over passes with friends outside of Manitowoc,Wis. May 12th, 2015. – Cameron Hoerth

Adventuring under over passes with friends outside of Manitowoc,Wis. May 12th, 2015. – Cameron Hoerth

Chilton, WI December 19th, 2014 – Cameron Hoerth

Chilton, Wis. December 19th, 2014. – Cameron Hoerth

Manitowoc, WI February 26th, 2015 – Cameron Hoerth

Manitowoc, Wis. February 26th, 2015. – Cameron Hoerth

First snow storm of the season in Manitowoc,WI February 11th, 2015 – Cameron Hoerth

First snow storm of the season in Manitowoc,Wis February 11th, 2015. – Cameron Hoerth

A man enjoys the view of Lake Michigan. Manitowoc, Wis. June 15th, 2015. – Cameron Hoerth

A man enjoys the view of Lake Michigan. Manitowoc, Wis. June 15th, 2015. – Cameron Hoerth

 


Eric Ginnard

 

Photo by Jason Chow

Photo by Jason Chow

Eric Ginard is a photo editor and photojournalist working for the Joliet Herald-News on the outskirts of Chicago. He finds the most pleasure in small town atmospheres and the inspiration that hides between long stretches of road. He has worked for several publications, including the Rapid City Journal, Gillette News Record, and the Southern Illinoisan. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angels Times, CBS Evening News and WIRED magazine’s Raw File photo blog.


Along I-55 in Sangamon County, Illinois. Feb. 2014.

Along I-55 in Sangamon County, Illinois. Feb. 2014.

Hillsboro, Illinois. December 2013.

Hillsboro, Illinois. December 2013.

Hillsboro, Illinois. Feb. 2014.

Hillsboro, Illinois. Feb. 2014.


Youth Boxing

I recently had the pleasure of shooting youth boxing at The Warehouse in Bloomington, In. More accustomed to watching professional fights, seeing 108 lb grade school-aged kids ready to go after each other was a bit surreal.

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Dewon Cooper, left, gets ready for his 9th fight June 13, 2015 at the Warehouse in Bloomington, In. – Isaac Smith

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Aaron Sheckles, left, watches as fellow coach Kobe Harris warms up with 11-year-old Brian Jackson June 13, 2015 before Jackson’s first fight at the Warehouse in Bloomington, In. The group came up from 5 Star Boxing in Louisville, Ky. for the event.– Isaac Smith

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Aaron Sheckles, left, massages the muscles of rookie fighter Brian Jackson as Jackson and coach Kobe Harris watch a fight June 13, 2015 at the Warehouse in Bloomington, In. – Isaac Smith

Eleven-year-old Brian Jackson, left, of Louisville, Ky., takes a swing at his opponent during the B-Town Boxing Classic June 13, 2015 in Bloomington, In. The event was his first fight. He trained for four months to take the win. – Isaac Smith

Eleven-year-old Brian Jackson, left, of Louisville, Ky., takes a swing at his opponent during the B-Town Boxing Classic June 13, 2015 in Bloomington, In. The event was his first fight. He trained for four months to take the win. – Isaac Smith

 

 


Ryan Dorgan

 

photo by Zach Hetrick

photo by Zach Hetrick

Ryan Dorgan (b. 1987) grew up near South Bend, Ind., and graduated from the Indiana University School of Journalism. He worked for newspapers in Indiana, Vermont and New Hampshire before moving to Wyoming in 2013, where his personal work focuses on westward migration and exploring the thin line between the modern American West and the region’s romanticized past.


Shooting memorial. Elkhart, Ind. May 1, 2013.

Shooting memorial. Elkhart, Ind. May 1, 2013. Originally printed in The Elkhart Truth.

Andrew Dowty, of Benton, Ind., between shows at the Elkhart County 4H Fair. Goshen, Ind. July 23, 2013.

Andrew Dowty, of Benton, Ind., between shows at the Elkhart County 4H Fair. Goshen, Ind. July 23, 2013. Originally printed in The Elkhart Truth.

First Lt. Paul Randall, 96, United States Army Air Forces. Elkhart, Ind. September 13, 2013.

First Lt. Paul Randall, 96, United States Army Air Forces. Elkhart, Ind. September 13, 2013. Originally printed in The Elkhart Truth.