Nathanial Schmidt is a twenty-five year old fine art photographer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is self taught and all of his work is done on film, mainly using 35mm and also 120 and the majority of which is color. His work as a whole tends to focus on banality and solitude of life in modern America with as much of an objective lens as possible, often portraying these scenes as quaint or tranquil but usually with an air of melancholy. Currently he is working on a project revolving around the recent death of his grandfather and the town in which he grew up with him. He is also currently trying to raise funds to take a road trip across the US, in the spirit of the early color film photographers such as Stephen Shore and Joel Sternfeld, to uncover or perhaps simply reassess the state of the American character.
East of West
The images I am submitting today are from a series I shot during a road trip through the American West titled “East of West”. The series documents the solitude and isolation of the road trip, but also the solitude and isolation of the West itself. These areas that I traveled through, often very rural (coming from a town of 2,500, still some of the most rural places I have ever been), felt very much to be in a state of limbo. They felt outside of time, forgotten and isolated. That is where the title of the series came from. The West Coast is seen as a sort of paradise in the US; a travel destination, the place people dream about living, and often it is seen as a place to seek ones fortune. The areas I passed through were far removed from that, an in between land where things just are what they are, a place where a person can get lost and forgotten.
Rather than seeing this in a negative light, I tried to give this subject an objective appraisal. After all, the people who lived in these areas would see these locations far different from an outsider simply passing though, and as a result of reserving judgement, I present these images not as a critique, but as a love letter to these places, and to the ability of a person to get lost or forgot about.
To view more of Nathanial’s work please visit his website.