Show Me State

 

There is a distinct and profound pleasure in making a photograph of and with another person. I approach the transaction as an intuitive, magical exchange; a subtle seduction between willing participants. Animated by the broadcasting and receiving of focused energy, a mysterious alliance is established between the ephemeral qualities of curiosity, impulse, and the intricate tenor of idle desire. It is a marvelous affair—capricious, and yet, transcendent.

 

This body of work is my response to the collective allure of the community in which I grew up and to which I belong. Insulated by eight neighboring states, Missouri stretches over a lush blanket of vegetation. West of the Mississippi, nestled in the Ozark Mountains, and bisected by old Route 66 is my archetypal Springtown. Historically, the communities that punctuate the countryside of the Ozarks have an acute understanding of human totality. Here, stalwart people invest in their ethos through the subtle preservation of native charm and inherited wisdom, their connection to family, and their grounded sense of personal presence. In an era where reticence and obscurity are part of our mortal guise, these individuals unapologetically evince familiar expressions of sensuality, eccentricity, vulnerability, and love.

 

With striking impunity, the people I photograph look straight into the camera, and therefore, straight into me. The images reveal the rapt attention between us—fostered by the reciprocity of looking and of being seen. This oscillating event between photographer and subject circulates desire and encapsulates the tension that is both palpable and fundamental to the act of making a portrait.

 

The experience of witnessing one another in this open manner lies at the heart of our photographic encounter, requiring a humility and reverence akin to religious ritual. In this empathetic space, we are fully present. Unveiled in this hushed interface is a distilled state of emotional undress. We blush.

 

Copyright © Rachael Dunville