John David Richardson

John-David Richardson, currently a first year MFA candidate in photography at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, holds a BFA in Applied Photography from Northern Kentucky University. He is one of ten recipients of the 2016 SPE Student Awards for Innovations in Imaging. Working in the style of an open narrative, his photographs illustrate moments of self-realization, tension, and loss. Today we share his series, Nation of Heat.

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Northern Alabama is an area stigmatized by poverty and drug culture. I observed my mother falling into a pattern of choices throughout my upbringing, and I would worry about how those choices affected us as a family. As an adolescent in this environment you grow up with a clenched fist and a thick skin, traits that have seemed to follow me into adulthood. Being removed from that lifestyle has brought to light the struggles and tension the people that I call family are left to deal with.

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The images that comprise Nation of Heat stems from observing and documenting unknown people and locations; a visual search for connections among my mother, home, and where I am now. Through these interactions with people and experiences of spaces, I hope to come to terms with the residual tension that has grown between my mother and I. In addition, I hope find my place in a society that has so heavily compartmentalized people based upon stereotypes of socioeconomic status.

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To see more of John’s work, visit his website.