While obtaining my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Brigham Young University, I spent a lot of my time running away. First finding a need to get out of Provo, then Utah, and eventually the United States. My flights resulted in a myriad of adventures, stories, and long road trips. It was during these long drives that I consistently ran into small Utah towns. Each consisting of a corner store, a post office, and the occasional child racing down the street. One after another I saw the patterns as I slowed down to 30 mph to watch the old signs and shops crawl past my window. Eventually, I fell in love with these towns, finding myself stopping in them more frequently, foregoing my final destination. I wanted to know more about their history, their stories, and their people. Thus, this project began.
Driving through Utah, it is hard not to pass through small towns. I drove nearly every weekend collecting images and recording stories. During my travels, I have become a master guesser of populations. Like a child guessing how many candies are in a jar, I can drive into any small town and know, more or less, its population. For almost eight years I have driven across Utah, seeking out these places. I am especially fascinated by the smallest ones, towns with populations of 800 people or less.
Temporarily quenching my wanderlust, these towns made me feel as if I was thousand miles away, when in reality I was only an hour’s drive from home. It expanded my ability to go out of my comfort zone, to wander with purpose, and to be patient while people told me their life stories. These experiences helped me realize that each one of these towns has its own unique soul once you look and ask. Even now after moving away, I find myself coming back to small-town Utah to look for population signs again.
Exhibitions and Publications.
'18 Utah Historical Quarterly, review in print and on-line gallery
’16 LATITUDE Chicago, Portrait contest winner
’16 Society for Photographic Education, "America" Contest Winner
’12 B.F. Larsen Main Gallery, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
’12 Orem Public Library, Orem, UT
’12 Permanent Collection of the Orem Public Library, Orem, UT, connection program by Andi Pitcher-Davis
A big thanks to James Swensen at Brigham Young University who believe in this project and helped inch it forward. Also a big thank you to Andi-Pitcher Davis who helped put this project out in the world and on walls. And lastly, thank you to every community that took me in, allowed me in their homes, and told their stories.