The Rural Record
Toward the beginning of this year, I realized I had an archive of images that encompassed a certain theme. Living smack dab between the Ozarks and the Arkansas Delta, I’ve had the opportunity to photograph several structures and environments that are the essence of a time-gone-by. Intrigued by the collection spanning 7 years, I determined to make a more concerted effort to continue that thread.
Fast forward to October, and I’ve started an Instagram account, added the project to the website, and have the gears in motion to be producing prints of selected works very soon. Through this project, I’ve also tried to shoot more on film with my Mamiya RB67. I’ve had this beast for years, but I never seem to shoot more than just a couple black and white rolls here and there. It’s been a learning curve, but I’m beginning to slow myself down and be more deliberate with the images I create with it. For this project, however, it’s a mixed bag of Fujifilm X-series digital, film, and instant film. The images in this story are all shot with either the Fujifilm X-Pro2 or X100F. I’ll have a separate post once the film is processed and scanned.
The Road Trip
My dad is a history and geography nut, so naturally he accompanied me on a small day trip through Central & Eastern Arkansas. My goal was photography and his was just hitting roads he had never travelled. With our home base in Searcy, we travelled down to Des Arc, AR, passing by an abandoned school in Griffithville. With school consolidation the norm, it’s not uncommon to find these in rural towns.
It's a reminder that strangers don't have
to stay strange for very long.
After spending a few minutes in Des Arc, we drove down Hwy 38 to Cotton Plant, our primary destination. Cotton Plant is almost a ghost town. While there are people that still live there, Main Street is almost entirely boarded up with buildings collapsing on themselves. I always wonder what these towns looked and felt like in their heyday. Again, the schools have been closed and we hardly saw anyone there - except for Lonnie, who was in the process of renovating one of the old buildings. My dad, a true extrovert, started up a conversation right away. I think the two of them could have talked for the next hour, but we had another section of the loop to travel.
We took a jaunt out to Hwy 49, following the railroad up to Hunter and then Fair Oaks, kicking over west on Hwy 64 to McCrory and Augusta. As is true for all small towns, we were met with curious stares, warm hellos, plenty of questions, and waves from almost everyone. It’s a reminder that strangers don’t have to stay strange for very long.
While I was able to photograph quite a bit, I passed up even more. There is plenty for a second trip, and I plan to take that as soon as possible. Like I said earlier, once the film is processed and scanned, I’ll have that up in a separate post.
Thanks for checking out this story, and welcome to the first of hopefully many posts about The Rural Record.
For more photos from the trip,
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