Midwest Memoir

  • Photographer
    Michael Knapstein
  • Prize
    2nd Place / Deeper Perspective/Deeper Perspective
  • Company/Studio
    Knapstein Photography
  • Date of Photograph
    2015 - 2019
  • Technical Info
    Nikon D850 and D800E with Nikkor and Sigma Art lenses

There is a certain magic to the American Midwest. Honest. Modest. Understated. Sometimes unappreciated. Often overlooked. I created Midwest Memoir as a way to help others see the Midwest in a whole new light. The Midwest in which I was raised. The Midwest that shaped my experiences and my artistic aesthetic. The Midwest the way I will always remember it, even though it continues to gradually change and disappear around me.

Story

There is a certain magic to the American Midwest. Honest. Modest. Understated. Sometimes unappreciated. Often overlooked. I created Midwest Memoir as a way to help others see the Midwest in a whole new light. The Midwest in which I was raised. The Midwest that shaped my experiences and my artistic aesthetic. The Midwest the way I will always remember it, even though it continues to change and disappear around me. I think of the Midwest as being classic and timeless in nature. Therefore, I approached this project from a time-honored “straight photography” perspective in the spirit of Group f/64 and gave the work a modernist character with a strong formalist dimension. My approach was informed by the work of mid-century modernist photographers such as Adams, Weston, White, Strand and Evans. My work was also strongly influenced by the American Regionalism movement and the work of artists who portrayed the American heartland, including Wood, Benton, Curry, Wyeth and Hopper. To support this modernist aesthetic, I utilized a square format as an homage to the timeless work created with medium format Rolleiflex and Hasselblad cameras of that era. This look is enhanced with split toning that simulates the look of platinum printing. As a final touch, the images are printed on warm-tone matte paper that is reminiscent of vintage Agfa Portriga Rapid photographic paper.

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