Houston Cofield

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.

Houston_Cofield_1_oMac in His Red Mechanics Suit, Sardis Mud Flats, MS, 2013
Houston_Cofield_2_oDirt, Tallahatchie River Bottoms, MS, 2013

Common Ground

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.

Houston_Cofield_3_oMud Flats, Sardis, MS, 2013
Houston_Cofield_4_oChester, Sardis Dam, MS, 2013
Houston_Cofield_5_oMud 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.

Houston_Cofield_6_oAaron Waiting on His Dad, Sardis Mud Flats, 2013
Houston_Cofield_7_oPercy’s 5lb. Catfish, Sardis Lake, MS, 2013
Houston_Cofield_8_oLarry 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.

Houston_Cofield_9_oTracks, Sardis Dam, MS, 2013
Houston_Cofield_11_oMichael, a.k.a. “Michael Jordan,” Waterford, MS, 2013
Houston_Cofield_12_oThe Town, Sardis, MS, 2013

To view more of Houston’s work please visit his website.