Chelsea Darter

Chelsea Darter (b. 1990) is a Midwest based photographer. She is currently a MFA candidate at Columbia College Chicago and received her BFA from The University of Iowa in 2013. Her personal work explores the overlooked enigmas of the everyday, mythologies and nostalgia of place, and the subtle silent moments that seek an overarching narrative within the American landscape.


Fisher King of the Prairie

In this ongoing body of work I am exploring the notion of home, memory, belonging and the changing relationship one has with place. My experience growing up in rural Iowa was disconnecting and alienating. The vastness of the landscape mimicked my internal isolation in the form of endless fields that stretched to the horizon, offering no escape or reference for what lay beyond. Now, when I return I marvel at the sunset over those same fields, at the brilliant glow unfolding for miles, and I find myself struck with a sense of longing for a home I could never quite grasp.

Although I’ve left Iowa the longing has stayed with me. The urgency I once felt to leave has been tinged with a displaced nostalgia and desire for familiarity. My memory slips as I’m caught between a selective past and current need for a foundation. Photographing becomes a tool, to repair the link to the past and a way offering a sense of belonging to a home that remains distant. By returning I search for a connection to home and attempt to restore roots that have been severed. My photographs serve as evidence of that search.

To view more of Chelsea’s work please visit her website.