Kirk Crippens  | Foreclosure, USA

In the last three years, the distress induced by widespread foreclosures in the United States has become an urgent national concern. There is much public discourse on how to solve the problem that has decimated communities, threatens the entire financial system, and seems to discredit the American dream. Inspired by the lasting impact of the dust bowl photographs from the Great Depression, Foreclosure, USA documents the town of Stockton, California, which is often referred to as the ‘epicenter’ of the foreclosure crisis, to illustrate some of the causes and effects of the current financial crisis.

Stockton enjoyed a spectacular housing boom from 2000 to 2006. Housing developments eagerly pressed into the surrounding farmland – then suddenly stopped in their tracks when the credit dried up. Sadly, Stockton is now one of the foreclosure capitals of the country. While working on this project in 2009, one in twenty-seven homes in the area received a foreclosure notice and the unemployment rate surged to 17.1% - and continued to rise to 18.3% as of March 2010. The photographs in this series serve as quiet witness to the Great Recession.

Kirk Crippens had an early start with photography, learning from his grandfather who kept a darkroom in his closet after retiring as a military photographer. As a college student Crippens interned with The Dallas Morning News in Dallas, Texas; The Flint Journal in Flint, Michigan; and The Patuxent Publishing Company in Columbia, Maryland.

Based in San Francisco since the year 2000, Crippens began focusing his efforts on personal projects. He started exhibiting in 2003. In 2008 he was invited to display twenty-four photographs at the Berkeley Art Center. The show was positively reviewed and attended. In 2009 he was invited to exhibit in five shows across the country, culminating with an exhibition of his Pixel Nation series at the SFMOMA Artists Gallery. In 2010 he has had two solo exhibitions of his Foreclosure, USA series. He was recently invited to exhibit in three upcoming 2010 shows and has 2 solo exhibitions of Foreclosure, USA scheduled for 2011.

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