Arno Road, 2008. From the series, Nashville.

My original proposal for my 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship was to photograph “American Marching Band Camps of the South.” Once I received the Guggenheim and was physically in Nashville, however, I was overwhelmed by the city and decided to pursue the more difficult concept of: finding my childhood Nashville in today’s contemporary city which became my Nashville series. My explorations of my hometown led me to this parking lot (which was closed for an event) where this proud father, playing around with his newborn, spontaneously laid down in the middle of the parking lot and held the baby up. In making the picture, I excluded the cones that blocked the entrance of the parking lot and included the people talking in the background who I felt added to the tension by not seeming to care or notice. Since I photograph with an 8×10 camera, I am sometimes asked if I set up all my pictures. And I think of the many more that suspect it and never ask. The thing is, I don’t like set up pictures either. For that reason, I have a somewhat grueling practice of walking around with a large camera looking for “real” moments. Even still, the camera forces me to talk to everyone that I photograph and I must direct them if I am going to have anyone in the frame. But there is a period of time before I talk to anyone where I look at the world and wait just as I would with my beloved Leica. There is also a time right before I make the exposure when I am waiting… waiting for a baby, for example, to look down at her father.

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