These photos are from a body of work called 191 Bittersweet. 191 Bittersweet explores the increasingly fleeting, emotionally difficult, and complex relationship I have to my hometown of Monroe, Michigan. The issues that plague Monroe are not uncommon to rural midwestern America; post-industrial depopulation; economic uncertainty; increasing political divides; and witnessing the long-term implications of globalization. My own memories of Monroe before the massive economic changes of the last decade are of a hardworking community that took pride in its dedication to the auto industry. Now, my friends and family struggle to persevere through an uncertain questioning and reforming of their identities as their jobs and places within the world shift.
Visiting my hometown and making portraits in close proximity to my community allows me to explore our interwoven relationships through my own distance; those who I love remain rooted in Monroe, while I struggle to ground myself elsewhere. The photos are my attempt to visualize our history (factual, and imagined) and the oppressing feeling of being stuck.