Wright Marion Morris is better known as an American Gothic writer than a photographer….

His photographs depict empty farms and barns in the American Midwest, principally Nebraska. In truth, I had never heard of him, but when a knowledgeable photographer recently told me that several of my North Dakota photographs were like his, I thought I had better look him up.

The best archive of his work is at the University of Arizona’s Centre for Creative Photography (CfCP) where he had a hand in how the photographs were printed. For a selection see my pinterest account.

The archive’s blurb says ‘his photographs depict everyday objects and atmosphere. (His) poetic images exist in a fictional narrative, but reference documentary style.’ I’m not sure exactly what this means since in my book fictional narrative is the polar opposite to documentary photography; but it probably has something to do with his interest in photo-text. But clearly the theme of his work is ‘time’ and the loss of the Midwest.

Actually the similarities are quite striking. When I look at his photographs it’s almost as if I had been there with him – that feeling.

But, you might well ask, ‘how many ways are there of taking a picture of a barn? It’s not surprising that there is some similarity’. That’s probably a little true. But I think it goes deeper than this. When I looked at his photographs for the first time I thought I had seen them before. A real case of déjà vu. Quite eerie! American Gothic even!

His photographs are better than mine, and that’s not false modesty talking. They seem to evoke a certain mood better. Perhaps that comes down to being an American Gothic writer too?

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