Wish You Were Here: Legends of the Great Plains examines the ways the Great Plains romanticizes its region using legends, folklore, and histories. This history is often commodified through roadside attractions and monuments where tourists can enter these places, take part in photo-ops, and buy souvenirs as proof of the experience and inclusion in this part of history. The Great Plains is full of legends rooted in truth, from the infamous Buffalo Bill in the Wild West to the spirits of the Badlands, but the stories overshadow some grim truths of Midwestern history. These stories become a sense of pride and comfort for the local population, who use iconography to perpetuate the ideas of manifest destiny and the Wild West. With awareness of this history, the authenticity of these spaces as well as their interpretations is put into question.
Epiphany Knedler is a chronicler of American life and political enthusiast. Growing up in Vermillion, South Dakota, she finds comfort in Midwestern aesthetics and small town familiarity. She graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2017 with a BFA in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography and a BA in Political Science. She strives to shed light on contemporary economic disparity through banal environments. She is currently based in Greenville, North Carolina, pursuing an MFA in Photography at East Carolina University. Her work has recently been exhibited with the North Carolina Museum of Art, CAM Raleigh, and Lenscratch.