4th July Weekend 2017, Long Beach, Washington (From the series American Recreation)
|Paper Size||40 × 60 in|
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I think a lot about the question ‘what does it mean to be American?’ It seems as if this question has never been more vital, nor more difficult to answer, especially for an outsider. Images like this one are an attempt to explore this question from my perspective as a resident alien, in the highly charged context of the current political environment in the US – where the concept of ‘home’ is being challenged daily, even for citizens. The photographs in the series to which this picture belongs were all taken during the 2017 July 4th holiday weekend – the first 4th July holiday following the election of Donald Trump. They were taken on and around the Washington coast, an area popular with tourists and locals where people come to observe the various rituals of recreation, both quiet, and loud. Some visitors came to the coast this 4th July to picnic on the sand with their families, and enjoy a day off work and away from school. Some came for the simple pleasure of driving on a long, smooth, vehicle-accessible beach. Some came to light fires, wave huge American flags and set off fireworks in the rain. This image (like the entire series) was shot using a fixed 50mm standard normal prime. Because it was was captured from a distance with a relatively short lens, the human subjects are represented as I chose to see them: A more pretentious photographer might describe them as actors, tiny and silent, on a shared stage. Perhaps ‘distant figures’, despite its double-meaning, is more precise.