Tell us about the inspiration for your piece.
I took this image while doing a solo drive through Nevada from San Francisco to Salt Lake City, Utah last winter. This image is from a town called Austin, Nevada, which is almost dead center in the middle of the state and located midway along the Lincoln Highway. Austin, Nevada was at one point a thriving gold mining town with a population of over 10,000. Today it is almost a ghost town with fewer than 200 inhabitants. In the winter it is a cold lonely, desolate place. The only other travelers I saw were a few weary truckers stopping through for the night.
During the past year, I’ve been exploring the many uses of plywood I find in the street and on the road. It started as a way to document the ever changing, always evolving, construction landscape of New York City. In the city, the sight of plywood usually means an old building or business is coming down and a new venture is going up. What started as an exploration of the landscape through plywood in the city spread to other parts of the country in my travels. I continue to shoot and look for plywood outside of the city, noticing that often it doesn’t symbolize a rebirth or sign of something new to come, but rather the decay of something neglected as it falls apart. Often times it is a band-aid for something that no longer exists as it originally did.
What’s been your most interesting shoot thus far & why?
This summer I spent 5 weeks shooting a documentary project in Guatemala with teens who lead extremely difficult impoverished lives under the constant threat of gang violence and gang recruitment. This project was particularly meaningful to me because I was able to raise awareness about the issues the youth of Guatemala are facing today on a global level and I made many friendships with a great group of kids. You can see some of my images from Guatemala here.
What are you working on next?
I’m headed down to Miami this week to shoot a story on illegal Brazilian butt lifts for Vice magazine. The story will be out this Spring.