Fourteen Places to Eat

This photo project about the rural Midwest originated in a photoblog I ran from 2004-09 called Fourteen Places to Eat.

Artist Statement

The photographs in this series are part of a long-term project on rural culture in the Midwest, particularly in my home state of Indiana. This work was inspired by my memories of growing up on a farm in Walkerton, Indiana, and observing first hand the shifting cultural identity that has occurred over time and through changing economic development.

When I first moved back to Walkerton in 2001, one of my biggest complaints was that there were not enough places to eat out. Or, rather, practically no places to eat out. So I was happy when news arrived that a new restaurant was opening there. Imagine my surprise when I read a letter to the editor in the local paper against the new restaurant. The letter stated that we already had enough places to eat in this town. The writer counted a total of fourteen places to eat, which included four restaurants, three gas stations, four bars, a truck stop, a convenience mart, and a bowling alley. This letter was published during the beginning of my project portraying small-town life, and it gave the series its name.