Early last year I introduced a new personal project called “Interacting with My Past.” Over the past 18 months I have returned to the midwest four times to continue work on this project. This is an update of where the project is now with a new project statement that focuses more on memory and an underlying restlessness.
I am fascinated by memory. I find it to be simultaneously perfect and imperfect. You remember what you choose to remember and how you view your past is relative to what memories you keep.
This project is an exploration of my memory and how I remember my past. I have gone back to photograph the places and people who had an effect on me growing up in the midwestern United States. Having spent my formative years in Michigan, Missouri, and Kansas, I share a common bond with many other people who grew up between the coasts.
My memories of youth are mostly of an idyllic place in a midwestern setting. The landscapes that composed this land shaped my existence, whether it was the Great Lakes that touch Michigan or the endless wheat fields of Kansas.
While growing up in the Midwest, I also remember struggling with a restlessness. I had a constant desire to get out and pursue “something else.” I felt suffocated by these same midwestern landscapes and an attitude that this was “good enough.” As I got older I realized that many of the people around me felt the same way. Over time I felt I had to leave the Midwest to outgrow those feelings, but it lingers in my mind and has left an indelible mark on my character.
Going back today, I find that many of those same people I grew up with continue to struggle with this restlessness on a daily basis. I have found that when you go back to explore your past, the perfect, idyllic memories fade into a new imperfect reality. Time overtakes memory, as the places and people have evolved with growth and change. These images are part perfect memory, imperfect reality, and portraits of an ongoing restlessness. This is my experience Interacting with My Past.
After a year and a half of shooting, I realize that the project isn’t done yet. I still have some history to explore and places to visit before it will be complete. Since introducing the project on the blog early last year Project debut, March 2011, the project won a Photo District News award for the Faces contest for environmental portraiture PDN contest August 2011.
If you would like to see a more complete edit of the project please view it in the ‘Projects’ section of my website: Interacting With My Past.
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124 West McDowell Road
Phoenix Arizona 85003
is at home in the post-modern world it is very informed by history. A desire to be creative
on a daily basis fuels his curiosity about the human experience and he documents things in sketchbooks as a way of remembering his life.
Since he was young, he has been recreating the world around him through photographs and is continually refining his artistic vision by drawing on influences from music, literature and art. Mark's work reflects a graphic, story-telling quality with a cinematic feel, drawing on his design background while studying at the Kansas City Art Institute.
Mark enjoys photographing ordinary people who do interesting things. Although he is primarily a still photographer, he has recently started incorporating multi-media and motion into his work. Recent project themes include examining how one's memory is affected with the passage of time and exploring family histories.