Online Exhibition: 2016 HCP Fellowship Honorable Mentions

  May 13 - July 10

Charlie Simokaitis
With Whom Do I Have the Pleasure?

Throughout history blindness has been one of the most feared misfortunes that could befall a person. When my daughter went blind over a span of two years she experienced the physical disintegration of her vision as well as a powerful psychological response to her imminent new reality. Drawing from this heightened event I distill the disorientation and confusion experienced in the day-to-day into a personal visual journal. Herein I chose to depict metaphorically my idea of her experience with blindness and its psychic repercussions.

Allison Stewart
Bag Out

Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Superstorms. War. Martial Law. The Zombie Apocolypse. The Bug Out Bag is the most basic piece of gear for disaster preparedness. It is usually a backpack or an easy to carry duffel bag containing the essentials needed to sustain life for 72 hours, or to possibly begin a new civilization. I have been traveling around the country documenting a variety of Bug Out Bags. I photograph them unpacked and ready for inspection or inventory. Each bag becomes a portrait of its owner, showing us their most basic needs and also their fears in the face of environmental and global change. The contents reflect the survivalist instincts and character of each owner. In my travels I have met moms in California who keep Earthquake kits by the front door or in the back of their car, self-subscribed Preppers who live "off grid", and a New Yorker who attended a disaster preparedness training held by Homeland Security following Hurricane Sandy. Everyone I meet tells me that preparedness is a necessity in Post 911 America. They are eager to discuss their fears, share tips and some even share their resources. Most are community minded but some are fiercely independent. Independence is a fundamental principle when describing the American character and survival is a natural state. At its most extreme, the new self-reliant American no longer experiences transcendence in nature, but instead, escapes to nature in an effort to hoard and protect their property. Living off grid has become a capitalist enterprise, banking on the fears and desires for stability in a progressive state.

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