Monday, July 7, 2008

J Bennett Fitts' Images From The Center Of The Contiguous United States

I discovered J Bennett Fitts' most recent project Images From The Center Of The Contiguous United States today. Consisting of four distinct sections, Interiors, Exteriors, Lawn Ornaments and Contextual Images, the photographs from this series investigate (what I imagine) is middle America. It is hard to say with any real confidence where Bennett Fitts took any of the images, and I'm guessing that is largely intentional. The places depicted lend no geographical cues to distinguish one landscape from another. Instead, they coalesce into a visual overview of modern day suburbanization.

Out of pure curiosity, I found out that the exact geographic center of the United States is in a park in Lebanon, Kansas. I'm guessing, however, that the title of this project is not to be taken too literally, and that the photographs can be seen as a microcosm of a much larger suburban culture. In keeping with the subject matter before his camera, Bennett Fitts titles and categorizes his images with the homogeneity that can similarly be found in the facades he photographs. He largely denies the viewer anything specific or contextual, so I'm guessing that the group of images entitled Contextual Images is intended to be received with a certain amount of irony.

In any event, J Bennett Fitts is an interesting photographer with an acute appreciation for the tradition of banality throughout photographic history. Ultimately, I think the reason his images are so successful is because he can take something that's been approached innumerable times and breath new life into it.

From Top To Bottom:

Untitled 2

Untitled 1

Exterior 4

Interior 3

Lawn Ornament 8

All Images © J Bennett Fitts