Modern day Utah was founded in 1847 when Brigham Young led a group of Mormon Pioneers West from Missouri after experiencing intense persecution. Upon seeing the Great Salt Lake Young said "This is the Place". Ever since then, Utah has definitely been the place for people of the Mormon faith. Currently, it is estimated that around 60 percent of the population in the state are members of the LDS church. Despite Mormons being in the media and popular culture often these days, people still know little about the religion or it's people. Most current depictions of Mormons end up being caricatures of the people or plays on the "missionary" meme.
Over the next year, I plan to really dig deep and attempt to photograph every aspect of this extremely unique culture and religious people group. I'm incredibly interested in how a predominant religion in an area effects every day life. The project will consist of a mixture reportage, formal portraiture and landscapes. Examples of the types of things I will be photographing will include: temple weddings, missionary homecomings, LDS wards, historical landscapes and much much more.
During the project I will be blogging micro photo essays,videos, historical photographs, and writings at the Looking at Zion tumblr. Even if you can't back me, i'd love for you to follow along with the project as it progresses throughout the year. There is already some content up there now so go check it out!
What is my money going towards?
Your money will be going towards covering the costs of film and developing. Film is expensive and this will help me buy and develop approximately 250 rolls of color medium format film. Any additional money will go towards the costs of scanning and any other incidental project expenses. I know that seems like a lot of film but I need it to last me a year and I want to be thorough!
Are you Mormon? Nope, but I have some Mormon friends!
FILM?!?!? REAAALY?!?! Yep, really! I do my best work on film. I like the way it looks and makes me feel (all tingly all over). I know it's expensive and a hassel but it always ends up being worth it. Call me old fashioned but I like to be able to hold my pictures in my hands (and then promptly scan them onto a hard drive). Plus, Kodak stock is not looking great this month so this may be my last chance to shoot my beloved Portra!
Favorite band? slayer. duh.
Are you making fun of Mormons? No, absolutely not! Utah may be weird but I have no ill will towards Mormon people (except the legislators that hate beer). This project is an attempt to better understand Mormon culture, not make fun of it.
Who cuts your hair? Tim Walzer. He's good at everything, I swear! Computer programmer by day, hair stylist by night.
"Road Crossing" from West Yellowstone
"Diner, Somewhere in Kansas"
- (31 days)