ELEGY by Justin Kimball




Between 2012 and 2016 I photographed in small, all but defunct towns in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.  Most of them were company towns that relied on natural resources to survive: coal, steel, lumber, paper and farming. These businesses are long gone now, the local economy dried up and blown away. The pictures I have been making in these towns are of the people who live there now, their homes, backyards, the streets and the buildings that once supplied the town its livelihood and economy. While the pictures are about a specific region, they also point to a growing invisible, yet ubiquitous, part of the American landscape. The body of work is meant to pose questions about what happens when things get hard; these are questions about struggle, hope and what it is to be human. These are always important questions, but in this  political moment they are, if possible, even more critical.


Justin Kimball was born in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1961.  He earned a B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design, and an M.F.A in Photography from the Yale University School of Art. The recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, an Aaron Siskind Individual Photographers Fellowship, a Kittredge Educational Grant from Harvard University and the Project Development Grant from Center in Santa Fe NM, he is the author of the monographs Where We Find Ourselves, Center for American Places, Pieces of String and Elegy, Radius Books. His work can be found in numerous museum collections, including the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the National Gallery of Art, the George Eastman Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Kimball’s images have been included in such publications as DoubleTake, Harper’s, PDN, Photo Metro, Photograph and Picture magazines. 

Kimball has taught photography for more than twenty years and is currently a Professor of Art at Amherst College in Amherst MA, USA.