West South West

The photographs from West South West document the mean centers of population that are plotted at the conclusion of every US Census. These are the places where a map of the United States would be balanced if every person weighed the same. These locations have progressively moved in a west-southwesterly direction from Kent County, Maryland in 1790 to Texas County, Missouri in 2010. The US Census process is a methodical gathering of statistical information and this project parallels that measured approach. The consistent westerly shift of these population centers over the past 220 years evokes the power of the American Dream and the willingness of both citizens and immigrants alike to stake their lives, fortunes, and futures on opportunities located in Western and Border States.

I began this project in July 2001 and then enlisted in the Virginia Army National Guard.  Three weeks later, 9/11 happened and I proceeded to spend more than 5 of the next 12 years on Active Duty.  In February 2013, I resigned from the Army and decided that now was the time to finish this project.  From July 26th-August 7th, 2013, I travelled more than 2600 miles photographing all 24 centers of population.