UN TE ST ES O AM R CA
I immigrated from Colombia in 2001. Since then, I’ve had a wonderful life in this country. It’s now 2019 and this once promising land is virtually unrecognizable to me. Institutions that have held strong since the founding of this Nation are being strained to a near breaking point… every day. The values that have inspired millions of people to leave their home countries in search of a new, promising life are eroding fast. I wonder if those values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have all been but an illusion for generations. With the rise of the current administration, racism, greed, lies, xenophobia, sexism, are now the norm. Yes, this has inspired millions of people of all genders, colors, ages and nationalities to rise and fight for the country we thought we lived in. That is a good thing. However, I fear there is no end in sight. Institutions that were designed to govern and protect our democracy have struggled to do just that. Each passing day of that struggle weakens their chance of survival. I hope I’m wrong. I really do. I hope I have no idea what I’m talking about and in the near future, sanity will have its way and we’ll all be able to sleep at night, and work to reach our dreams during the day. I do my best to stay informed and vote. I’m not running for office, so I photograph with the hope that it may help others realize what is at stake and do something about it.
Before I started this project, the intentional dismantling of institutions, ideas, values, facts, history, etc. was driving me insane. The surgical removal of what makes this country the *Union* it has been for over three hundred years. I thought, “I must do something”. And do, I did. I’ve removed iconic buildings, people, objects, anything that represents some part of what this country has been. I’ve done it all “surgically” with intent and precision using only a fresh razor blade and a very big loupe. Once the removal has concluded, I nail the photograph to charred wood. The missing element is then a black, burned silhouette. Looking at them is hard. Places, things, people we have taken for granted, now removed. A familiar place, now unfamiliar and haunted by what once was and has become (or revealed). Draw your own conclusion… before it’s illegal.