I currently live in Brooklyn NY and am friends and neighbors with a single mother named Tanya and her two daughters. As we have became closer friends, we have started to travel together to Tanya’s hometown of Dora, Alabama.
Since the 2016 presidential election in the United States, I have been thinking about the vanishing charm and simplicity of rural, small town America and the formidable socio-economic challenges this community faces. The visit to Dora became a reflection of these thoughts and I was inspired by an experience so dissimilar to what I know that I began this project based on the people of the area.
The small town of Dora is very isolated (population just over two thousand) and though no one had ever met anyone foreign, let alone from Japan, they warmly welcomed me. Through meeting some of Tanya’s family members and locals, I learned of people’s complex lives. I heard and felt their stories and witnessed the weight of the burdens and also, of their hopes. I decided to capture their beauty and reality through my individual artistic vision.
Recently, we returned to Dora to continue the project and I am planning to go back until the next presidential election.