Out of Brooklyn: encountering the Other in Rural America

enhanced photography by
CHRISTINE STODDARD | Editor + Visual Artist


 

 

Ivy and Steam

I created “Ivy and Steam” while visiting Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 2015. I was in town for Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh, but arrived well before my host was ready for me. So, I decided to drive to Braddock, an industrial suburb not far from where I was staying. I had read about the steel mill there and the public health threat it posed and just wanted to see how the townspeople lived. I spent hours just wandering the streets and taking photos. When I finally came upon the mill, I froze. It looked every bit as menacing as I had imagined. This mill provided a livelihood  for many people, though not nearly as many as it once had. Yet it killed so many, too. It’s not healthy to spend your life working in a mill and it’s not healthy to live by one, either.


 
 

Field Ride

I created “Field Ride” in my home state of Virginia. I took the cornfield photo on my way to a clowning gig in the small, rural town of Kilmarnock. I was living in Richmond at the time, so the drive was about an hour and a half. At some point, I pulled over to take pictures of the corn. When I arrived to the birthday party location, I was surprised to find myself in a trailer park. I tried not to make assumptions or cast judgment. Still, I was heartbroken when I saw the birthday boy’s mother collect cash from all of the adult guests in order to pay me. She did it discreetly, so that none of the children noticed. I hope that little boy one day appreciates all the things I’m sure his mom has done to give him a comfortable life. That’s all I could think about during my long ride home. 

 
 
Enjoy more of Christine’s work wordsmithchristine.com.
Christine Stoddard
Originally from Virginia, Christine Stoddard is a Salvadoran-Scottish-American writer and artist​ who was raised by a creative family​. Her visuals have appeared in the New York Transit Museum, the Ground Zero Hurricane Katrina Museum, the Poe Museum, and beyond. In 2014, Folio Magazine named her one of the top 20 media visionaries in their 20s for founding Quail Bell Magazine.​ Christine ​also is a Puffin Foundation grantee, Tom Tom Festival artist, and Artbridge winner.​ When she is not making art, she is studying and experiencing it. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, who is a motion graphic designer and the audio tech for the Radio Free Brooklyn show Christine hosts, "The Badass Lady-Folk of Brooklyn."