This is an exploration of small towns, specifically, Drexel, Missouri. Small towns have always been of interest to me because of their atmosphere and appearance. There is a certain quality to a place that has only 965 residents; my high school had more students than that. I hoped to capture the essence of this town, but used models and lighting to elevate it. I wanted my subjects to look comfortable and wrapped up in their own thoughts, as if they did not even notice I was there. I was really able to highlight them with strobe lighting. This was interesting to me, because apart from a few people, everyone else was brought into Drexel. My lighting put a spotlight on them, as if they were my actors on a stage. They may not all be connected to Drexel, but Drexel helped connect them. Can the viewer distinguish the difference between the “natives” and my “actors”? I discovered how welcoming small towns could be, even when you do not have very direct ties to them. This project was not to be a documentary, but an exploration.

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