|Notes on WILSON, NC
"I've always thought that photography is akin to anthropology," says Gerard Lange. His latest series, Wilson, NC, offers a textured portrait (a la early Walker Evans) of a town that was built in the golden-leaved heyday of the tobacco industry. Wilson has suffered the worst of the industry's downsizing, exacerbating already tense race relations in the town as development is pushed to the outskirts, long-standing Wilson families are forced to close their shops, and new, ad hoc businesses are set up in the abandoned buildings. Lange's crumbling storefronts say much about the town's people, though no Wilsoners appear in any of the shots. "I removed any location specific things: trees, stop signs." The results are eerily toy-like vignetted compositions that play on the concept of a "model" community. "The lower class is trying to make their way up," he says, "and the upper class is trying to hold on to an idea of what Wilson, NC is supposed to be."