The In Search of America Project: Phase 2

In Search of America in a personal photographic and podcasting project to answer a nagging question that I kept asking myself: “Is this all that America is about? After years of dire media stories and politicians uncoupling us from our neighbors for votes. I could not find an answer - either within myself, or from anyone who I asked. So I went in search of the answer.

Many people have attempted projects like this before and some of my favorites are John Steinbeck’s, Travels With Charley, Robert Frank’s, The Americans, and Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon.

Each of these books were , and still are, great portraits of America. But each of these was also very specific in the stories they told about America. Steinbeck’s was essentially a collection of wonderful experiential stories. Frank’s was a brilliant - and at the time, groundbreaking photographic portrayal of a segment of America’s society that was being overlooked. William Least Heat-Moon’s book was specific to his journey along the “Blue” highways of America.

The In search of America Project is a broad look at America. My goal is to show America as it is, in all of its diversity of cultures, languages, traditions, etc. Most of all I want to share with people the truth, as I uncover it through countless conversations, and interviews.

During Phase 1 of the In Search of America project I accomplished the bulk of the work, after spending more than four years traveling throughout the United States. The body of photographic work, along with the magnitude of insightful and inspiring stories, has resulted in a powerful, truthful, and even hopeful lens to view the various components that are interconnected in this place we call America. 

Yes, America is divided - but not hopelessly so. In fact far from it. Throughout my journeys I found an abundance of hope, and kindness, and generosity of spirit. I spoke with people from a wide swath of society - from political leaders, to Native tribal leaders. From people living in  remote towns like Terlingua, Texas, to those living in cities like Chicago, and New York City. 

I have spent time living among the Cajun Culture of south Louisiana, and was witness to the early stages of the culture reclaiming its inherent, and proud cultural status of Cajun. I traveled with them in the bayous to witness, and photograph the traditions of alligator hunting, and hoop net fishing - traditions that have their roots in the earliest days of settlement.

I lived among the Lakota People, both before, and during the NoDAPL protests at Standing Rock. At Standing Rock I lived in the Oceti Sakowin Camp for nearly three months, in order to tell the story as completely as possible. 

I experienced the traditional Lakota Winter Solstice ceremony, by invitation, where I helped to prepare the fire, the sweat lodge, and engage in the ceremony itself. I was also invited to interview, and make a portrait of the last person to speak the Wichita language, before her passing: Mrs. McLemore, of Annadarko, Oklahoma. And with each encounter I gathered stories, in addition to photographs.

Phase 2 will continue along the same methodology, and its timeframe for completion is much shorter than Phase 1: Approximately 12 months. The end result will be the completion of the project, which will then enter into Phase 3: the editing, printing, and production of the traveling  photographic exhibition, as well as the production of a comprehensive lecture to be presented with each exhibition opening, but also made available as a lecture - ideal for universities, and other lecture venues.

Throughout Phase Two I will continue the podcast series, with stories that I gather from this segment of the journey. I will also establish social media sites dedicated to this project, so that people can follow along as it unfolds, In addition, I have created a Patreon site  for supporters that want to follow along with the project as it continues to unfold.

The funding that I am requesting is for the following:

*A stand-alone website dedicated to The In Search of America Project
*Continued subscription for podcasting software
*Travel expenses

In addition to the GoFundMe page I will continue to make images from the project available for purchase, as fine art prints, to help support the project with ongoing funding.

Donations

  • James Schoedler 
    • $150 
    • 4 mos
  • Stephanie Hutter-Thomas 
    • $50 
    • 4 mos
  • Nick Dantona 
    • $200 
    • 4 mos
  • Mary Elfner 
    • $75 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 4 mos

Organizer

David Robert Farmerie 
Organizer
Greenbrier, TN