In 2005, I set out to photograph my home state of South Dakota, a sparsely populated frontier state on the Great Plains with more buffalo, pronghorn, coyotes, mule deer, ring-necked pheasants, and prairie dogs than people. It’s a landscape dominated by space and silence and solitude, by brutal wind and extreme weather. I was trying to capture a more intimate and personal view of the West. I was trying to capture what all that space feels like to someone who grew up there. A year into the project, however, everything changed. One of my brothers died unexpectedly. For months, one of the few things that eased my unsettled heart was the landscape of South Dakota. It seemed all I could do was drive through the badlands and prairies and photograph. I began to wonder: Does loss have its own geography?
That first year of grieving was a blur of motel rooms, back roads, and dreams of my brother. I still remember, however, one particularly elusive, haunted, dreamlike image. One overcast day on a deserted country road in the Missouri River valley, I was startled by a flock of some thousand blackbirds. I was mesmerized by how the birds flew through the stormy, unsettled Western sky as if they were one huge, dark, undulating, ravenous creature, picking clean the remains of the corn and sunflower fields in the last days of autumn.
BELOW: INFORMATION AND LINKS TO THURSDAY’S ICP BOOK LAUNCH OF “MY DAKOTA”
UPCOMING EVENTS: MAY & JUNE
––THURSDAY, MAY 24, NEW YORK, NY: My Dakota book launch at ICP, May 24″ href=”http://www.icp.org/events/2012/may/24/book-signing-rebecca-webb-norriss-my-dakota” target=”_blank”>My Dakota book launch, party and book signing at ICP (43d and Sixth Ave), 6-7:30.
––THURSDAY, JUNE 21, RICCO MARESCA GALLERY, NY: “Weather,” a group exhibition with a selection of photographs from MY DAKOTA, 6-8 pm. The exhibition runs through August 17.
RAPID CITY, SD
––FRIDAY, JUNE 1, RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA: “My Dakota” exhibition opening and book signing, Dahl Arts Center, 5-7pm. The exhibition will run until October 13, 2012.
SATURDAY, JUNE 9, AT LOOK3 PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL
UPCOMING WORKSHOPS WITH ALEX AND REBECCA