Vanessa Winship: she dances on Jackson

Vanessa Winship travels Through The Ruins of the American Dream.

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The varied and stark landscapes of America’s heartlands—and the isolated figures that reside within them—are exposed in today’s series of images from photographer Vanessa Winship’s new exhibition and book, she dances on Jackson. Based in the British seaside town of Folkestone, Winship and her husband, fellow photographer George Georgiou, had been based in the Balkans and Turkey for a decade when she won the prestigious 2011 Henri Cartier-Bresson International Award, which funded the long journey around the United States documented here. The resulting pictures, shot on a large format camera over little more than a year, expand on the artist’s more familiar portraits to reveal not only the vastness of the North American continent, from Oregon to Kentucky and Georgia to Colorado, but also the corroded ambition of what we have come to know as the American Dream. Winship, who studied cinema and photography at Westminster University, has exhibited at museums and festivals including the Rencontres d’Arles, the Kunstall Museum of Contemporary Art in Rotterdam and the Photographers’ Gallery in London. This most recent book’s unusual title was inspired by a moment that got away from her while shooting in Jackson, Mississippi, when a young uninhibited girl began to dance to a band at a train station evolved into a narrative about the intimacy between mother and daughter. “My desire was to be part of it, to ask who they are, where they’re going,” Winship has explained. “But I know instinctively not to do so. I’m never close enough to hear what they say and I don’t want to invade this perfect space.”

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