What does culture mean? In big terms it is a particular society at a particular time and place. But as everything else it translated to small communities that identify themselves with peculiar characteristics. At the end it is all about communities living together, working together, accomplishing tasks for better qualities of lives. A sad vision it is when you see these communities fail. Endless numbers of small towns, which held together for as long as possible are taken over by competitors of monstrous proportions and unplayable leases. The result: no cafés, no specialized personal stores, churches still stand strong but so many have been abandoned as well; Theaters, ice cream shops, no chance. Most importantly, no facilities for children and youngsters to learn and build or rebuild a sense of community except for schools and we all know how miserably the American school system is failing. Therefore heavy drug use, alcohol use and teenage pregnancies have become part of a culture less desirable. Bored youngsters in front of TVs and videogames, wasted time, wasted personalities. I guess that’s how armies are build. Jobs are certainly not local, you now depend on precious black gold to transport you to a near or distant town where you work as a cashier for an impersonal company with minimal benefits. And you hate your job.
The towns on these photographs are not abandoned, people live in the surroundings of what used to be downtowns. This is a sneak preview to a book touching on many problematic issues this country either battles or chooses to ignore. It showcases photography of many small towns and the surrounding decomposing structures in unison to the surrounding decomposing sense of communities.
Here is a presentation of five South Easters states which proves the vastness of this problem.