New Group Project: Lebanon, Kansas
LUCEO will be documenting the decline of small town America as a group project over the coming year. Over this course of time, LUCEO members will commit several sessions of 24-48 hours documenting various aspects of life in rural America in different towns across the country. Among our goals is to record history during a unique shift which may very well lead to the demise of these places that once stood as the core of America. One of the most exciting parts of the project to me is working together with my colleagues towards a common goal, and this idea that what we can create as a team is greater than just the sum of our individual parts – one of the same notions that drives our partner network, some of whom we will likely be collaborating with as the project evolves.
Our first stop took Matt Slaby, Kendrick Brinson, and I to Lebanon, Kansas, which totes itself as the geographic center of the Contiguous United States. We had done what research we could but descended upon the town with an open mind to the portrait we would paint of the place. We wanted to search for images that went beyond fact and began to tap into the mood and tone. What I saw was a place which may be dying, but was beautiful and shining through the people there and the way of life they preserved. Stay tuned for more with a group post edited by Matt Eich with some unique contributions in experimentation from Matt Slaby (that would be the sleeping man in the last photo in our motel room).
To read Kendrick Brinson’s heartfelt words about this magic little place and get a better understanding of the good people of Lebanon, check out her blog post here.