Nathan Pearce (born 1986) is a photographer based in Southern Illinois. He also works in an auto body repair shop. In addition to making photographs, he makes photobooks and zines. He is the co-founder of Same Coin Press, an independent photobook and zine publishing collective. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Today we share his series, Midwest Dirt.
Fairfield, Illinois is a sleepy town just south of Interstate 64 in southern Illinois. It also happens to be the place where I was born and raised. Its residents are good-natured folk for the most part. Even the town’s slogan reflects this. It reads “Home of the Friendly People” I can’t disagree with that assertion. Much less happy I suppose is its claim to fame. The area is most famous for a bloody gang war in the first half of the last century fueled by prohibition. My new favorite piece of local lore though is a story that has been circulating in the past few years. Some time, early in his career, Joe DiMaggio visited the town. Some of the local boys saw Joltin’ Joe through a first floor window of the house he was staying in.
They should put that on the town sign:
Joe DiMaggio visited here once.
Growing up in a small town can breed a specific type of restlessness. It is the restlessness of having nothing to do. There is not a lot of “new” that happens there. After a while, the restlessness can agitate to the point where the impulse to seek adventure in a new place can’t be denied. And you leave, heading for the dramatic possibilities of the city.
What you don’t realize is that the city doesn’t quench the restlessness but fuels it. You miss harvest season, when you can drink a beer on your porch and see for miles. Angst turns into tenderness, and with something between resignation and acceptance, you go home. It is only in the return that you realize there is beauty in having nothing to do.
To see more of Nathan’s work, please visit his website.