A (Temporary) Shift In Focus
Forgotten Iowa has been on an unintentional hiatus for a couple months now and 2017 hasn’t been exactly kind to me as an artist or a human being. As a fair warning, I must admit that this article is a little different than the stuff that I usually write and it’s mostly geared toward the FORGOTTEN IOWA audience as a whole than toward Medium. That said, let’s start at the start.
I lost my job in the early winter of this year. That was how I funded this project, how I had the capital to invest into it, and it’s been a rough go of it for me regarding FORGOTTEN IOWA in the time since. To put it bluntly: I don’t have the funds necessary to keep this project going in its current incarnation. I just don’t. From my present vantage point, somewhere near 450 individual Iowa towns, I can no longer just get in the car and go to a county. It takes considerable effort and what is to me a whole lot of money to burn through. I have to pay for gas (obviously), then I have to drop hundreds of dollars for hotel rooms. Sometimes, I have to stay for three, four, or even five days to really capture the county in an honest and true way. It simply isn’t feasible on my presently meager budget.
Then, a short time later, my girlfriend (and co-creator of Forgotten Iowa) and I split up. It was amicable and there is no bad blood between the two of us, but it has made Forgotten Iowa a herculean feat to accomplish. Now, I’m solely responsible for not only getting the photos done, but I also have to plan the routes and navigate the towns on my lonesome. So far, I have had a very hard time even getting beyond the point of those first initial planning stages. I’m overwhelmed about it, but still have this strong desire to continue work. I cannot overstate how important Kat was to this project and it’s going to be difficult to continue by myself.
The site has suffered. It hasn’t been updated in a long time and, worse still, there is this monumental itch deep within me to go and do it that I cannot scratch until I do. It’s incessant and doesn’t stop. I’m so overwhelmed by lack of capital, lack of help, and desire to trudge through that I don’t even know where to begin.
So what do I do from here?
I moved back to my hometown of Keokuk, Iowa in February of 2017. It was both a means to an end because I could no longer afford to live in the town of Fairfield, but it was also because I just wanted to come home. Keokuk happens to sit on the tri-state border and you can get to Illinois or Missouri in a matter of minutes from here. I’ve been using that as an excuse to head to those states when I’m feeling particularly creative. And you know what I’ve discovered?
THIS ENTIRE COUNTRY IS FULL OF FORGOTTEN GOLD MINES.
Why am I not taking advantage of it? Because of some arbitrary border? Because the states have ZIP codes that aren’t designated Iowa zones? Doesn’t that seem a little silly considering my present predicament?
My entire idea to begin with was to finish Iowa and then start exploring the country as a whole. And that still is my end game goal here. But the only way I can make my art work with my present circumstances is if I start that process a little sooner.
So long story short is that is exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to open the doors to Forgotten Iowa and explore the surrounding areas. At least for the time being, this is the only way that I can sate my desire to create this kind of material and also keep the site healthy and active.
I hope this doesn’t bother the core Iowa followers of this blog. When finances allow it, I plan to get right back to work and I still plan on photographing every single town this state has to offer. But in the meantime, I’m going to explore a little bit and see what’s just outside of state lines.
I hope you like what is to come. Thank you.