Houston Cofield is a photographer from Memphis, TN currently living in Chicago, IL where he is a second year MFA candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Houston uses video and objects to create fictional narratives. Family, myth and history play important roles in the way he documents the land and people he encounters. His photographs attempt to extract an imagined history to create a new fiction about a place.
Mac in His Red Mechanics Suit, Sardis Mud Flats, MS, 2013
Dirt, Tallahatchie River Bottoms, MS, 2013
Growing up in a family rooted five generations deep in photographic history, I developed an appreciation for photography at an early age. Film photography was present throughout my life hanging on our walls and stacked between pages on our coffee tables. My grandfather and great-grandfather taught me to appreciate the art of making a photograph with a 4×5 camera through their published book of William Faulkner’s portraits.
Mud Flats, Sardis, MS, 2013
Chester, Sardis Dam, MS, 2013
Mud Pond, Tallahatchie River Bottoms, MS, 2013
This history, fiction, literature and photography continue to surround my own artistic practice. Studying photographers such as William Christenberry, Sally Mann and growing up down the street from Eggleston served to reinforce my romanticized view of the South. The ability for photography to strengthen that perspective grounds my work. I’m obsessed with place, myth, folklore and romance. These characteristics are prevalent themes throughout my work and are qualities derived as a product of my upbringing in the American South.
Aaron Waiting on His Dad, Sardis Mud Flats, 2013
Percy’s 5lb. Catfish, Sardis Lake, MS, 2013
Larry in the Woods, Abbeville, MS, 2013
Common Ground is an investigation into the land my grandfather and great-grandfather documented years ago at the heart of William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County to uncover the mystery and myth that surround this region. As I wander through the Lafayette county roads, my eye is drawn to moments where literal and imagined histories are evoked. In documenting the land and its inhabitants I am not only attempting link myself with a photographic heritage, but cast my own layer of fiction to this place.
Tracks, Sardis Dam, MS, 2013
Michael, a.k.a. “Michael Jordan,” Waterford, MS, 2013
The Town, Sardis, MS, 2013
To view more of Houston’s work please visit his website.