Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 3, 2013.

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Every 10 years, the United States conducts a Census and a "center of population" is plotted. My project will document these 23 centers.

Twelve years ago, I began documenting the 22 Mean Centers of Population as determined by the United States Census.  These "Centers" are the locations where a map of the United States would be balanced if each person included in the census weighed the same.  After photographing more than half of the sites, I returned home and enlisted in the Army National Guard.  Three weeks later, 9/11 happened and I spent five out of the next 11 years on active duty with the Army.  I left the military this past February and it is now time for me to finish this project.  

Titled West South West, I will document the Westerly and, for the past 90 years, decidedly West South Westerly movement of these centers as they cross the country.  With your support I will travel interstates, highways, suburban roads, city streets, and dirt roads starting with the first center from 1790 in Kent County, Maryland and finishing in Wright County, Missouri.  The locations for these centers is as varied as the American landscape: from backyards to National Forests and farm fields to an airport parking lot.  With the passage of 12 years from my original photographs, I will rephotograph those locations to ensure a consistent body of work. 

Every dollar that is pledged will go toward my travel expenses of documenting these 23 sites over the course of 14 days and then printing the images for portfolio reviews and future exhibition.  Depending on the amount of your pledge, the rewards range from digital postcards that will be sent from each "Center" to archival prints from my series to a mock up of a book of this project.

WSW (Phelps County, Missouri, 2000)
WSW (Phelps County, Missouri, 2000)
WSW (Clinton County, Illinois, 1960)
WSW (Clinton County, Illinois, 1960)
WSW (Loudoun County, Virginia, 1810)
WSW (Loudoun County, Virginia, 1810)
WSW (Hardy County, West Virginia, 1820)
WSW (Hardy County, West Virginia, 1820)

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The biggest challenge for this project is potential setbacks with weather. Although I am choosing to complete this project during the warmest months in June/July, they also promise to be the driest.

FAQ

  • In 2001 I had just started the graduate program in photography at Virginia Commonwealth University. I was looking for a project that would keep me busy over the summer and would also work for my thesis project. I wanted to work on a project that felt like a journey without being the "Great American Roadtrip." I read travel journals ranging from John Steinbeck and Jack Kerouac to William Least Heat-Moon. Coincidentally, I heard a blurb on the radio talking about a spot near Edgar Springs, MO that had just been named the Mean Center of Population for the 2000 United States Census. A few month later, I was a 7000 mile journey around the country that incorporated the most recent 12 "Centers." I arrived back in Richmond, VA on a Monday and by the next Monday, I had enlisted in the Army National Guard. Twelve years (and 5 years on Active Duty) later, I am finally finishing what I began.

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  • As defined by the United States Census bureau, it is "the point at which an imaginary, flat, weightless, and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if weights of identical value were placed on it so that each weight represented the location of one person on the date of the census." The addition of Alaska and Hawaii in 1959 moved the center of population 2 miles further South and 10 miles further West in 1960.

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  • For a general overview, Wikipedia has a great page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mean_center_of_United_States_population) with map coordinates and links to each "Center." For more in depth information, including how these "Centers" are plotted, go to the United States Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov/2010census/data/center-of-population.php).

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  • West South West is the most accurate description for the direction that these centers are moving. This direction has been particularly apparent over the past 60 years as more people aremoving and immigrating to Western and Border States.

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    0 backers

    A gigantic thank you because every single dollar counts!

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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    0 backers

    A digital postcard emailed to you from one of the 23 Mean Centers of Population from the United States Census.

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    5 backers

    Your choice of a 4" x 6" print from one of the 23 Mean Centers of Population from the United States Census PLUS a digital postcard emailed to you from one of the 23 MEAN Centers of Population.

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  • Pledge $50 or more
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    8 backers

    A digital postcard emailed to you from each of the 23 Mean Centers of Population PLUS your choice of a 4" x 6" print from my series.

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  • Pledge $100 or more
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    3 backers Limited (20 left of 23)

    A 4" x 6" print from each of the Mean Centers of Population PLUS a digital postcard from one of the "Centers."

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    1 backer Limited (22 left of 23)

    Your choice of an 11" x 14" archival pigment print from one of the 23 Mean Centers of Population PLUS a 4" x 6" print from each of the 23 Mean Centers of Population PLUS a digital postcard from one of the "Centers."

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    Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $500 or more
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    2 backers Limited (21 left of 23)

    A mockup of a photo book documenting each of the 23 Mean Centers of Population PLUS your choice of an 20" x 24" archival pigment print from one of the "Centers" PLUS a 4" x 6" print from each of the 23 Mean Centers of Population PLUS a digital postcard from one of the "Centers."

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
Funding period

- (30 days)