Return to Sender

Return to Sender: Holstein, Nebraska, No. 2

Return to Sender–Holstein, Nebr No. 2

Return to Sender–Holstein, Nebr No. 2

Well, it’s that time of year again for me. Ph.D. work is ramping up–papers and research–so I’ll be cutting back the posts to once a week again for a while. I have little time to shoot during the fall semester.

Thus, this image of the progression of lines and spaces present in the Holstein, Nebraska, post office is it for this week. I enjoyed the notion of decay coupled with a vague reference to the colonnades of the Parthenon, hinting at the decay of yet another once-mighty empire: the U.S. Postal Service.

Return to Sender: Holstein, Nebraska

Return to Sender–Holstein, Nebr

Return to Sender–Holstein, Nebr

The Holstein, Nebraska post office is unlike many I’ve ever seen. Flowers racks under the windows. Painted Nebraska crimson and cream. Vaguely Romanesque in its pillories and faux pediment. And like the Roman Empire in 300 C.E., embraced by a slow and inevitable decline toward memory.

 

Return to Sender: Heartwell, Nebraska

 

Return to Sender–Heartwell, Nebr.

Return to Sender–Heartwell, Nebr.

Each rural post office has a unique character, and Heartwell’s is indeed unique. The village’s post office is little more than a postage stamp in size, and in fact, to buy stamps, one steps into the postmaster’s office.

It is a reminder of days past, before global trauma disrupted our trust for one another. When the post was a connection to the world, rather than a symbol of one passing us by.

 

The Next Show: Return to Sender

Return to Sender–Trumbull, Nebr

Return to Sender–Trumbull, Nebr

My next solo exhibition is opening in April 2014, and is titled “Return to Sender: The Endangered Rural Post Office.” It’s more artistic than my previous documentary work, but how is a secret until the show opens. Suffice it to say the 30 images that will compose the show are far deeper than any of the attendees can possibly realize, and each will be an edition of only 4.

The project is about the endangered rural post office, the heart of small town America, and the loss of which often signals the death of a town. But how do these post offices fit in a digital world of mobile e-mail, Facebook, and blanketed cell coverage? They are symbols of a passing world, much like the small towns they inhabit. As much of the Great Plains population wanes, the dying post office emerges as the pivotal icon of the changing century.