Emilio, Omaha, NE, 2005-2018
Gregory Halpern: Omaha Sketchbook
For the last fifteen years, Gregory Halpern has been documenting life in Omaha, steadily compiling a lyrical, if equivocal, response to the American Heartland. Halpern’s photographs depict the city’s communities and their traditions, including boy scouts and marching bands as well as its landscapes and infrastructure, in search of an anthology of place. While the photographs themselves ebb and flow to the rhythm of small town life, there is an urgency to the series which is prescient in the context of America’s current political upheaval. The series is a meditation on America, on the men and boys who inhabit it, and on the mechanics of aggression, inadequacy, and power which permeate the construction of the concept of nationhood. Halpern is particularly interested in the exploration of power in relation to traditional masculine values and how these have manifested and become entrenched within the fabric of American society and politics, its aesthetics, rituals and beliefs.