Photolucida: Kirk Crippens: Bank Rupture
I’m beginning to think that Kirk Crippens sleeps with a camera, or simply doesn’t sleep at all. He has had an amazingly busy year, enjoying artist residencies at Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco and at the Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Oregon. He was also named Top 50 Photographer in Critical Mass, nominated for the 2011–2013 Eureka Fellowship Program, and invited to speak during PhotoAlliance’s Spring Lecture series at the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2011 he was included in eighteen exhibitions, three were solo, named Top 50 photographer for the second consecutive year, and a finalist for Photolucida’s book prize. He’s been busy in 2013 exhibiting widely including the upcoming UnBound2 summer exhibition at the Candela Gallery in Richmond, VA where a piece from his new series Portraitlandia will be included.
Having been friends with Kirk for several years, I now understand his unique ability to capture meaningful portraits. He is not only warm and engaging, but a compassionate and insightful photographer. His latest series, Bank Rupture, combines portraits of the underserved or those affected by the recession and photographs of a city in transition.
A follow-up to my body of work The Great Recession (’09-’11), Bank Rupture began as Stockton, California teetered on the precipice of bankruptcy. I first traveled to Stockton in 2009 after 60 Minutes dubbed it the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis. Subsequently GQ magazine declared Stockton the worst place to live in America. In early 2012, as bankruptcy loomed, I was compelled to return to Stockton and begin photographing again.
An All-American city transformed into the largest municipality in American history to declare bankruptcy, Bank Rupture looks at the aftermath of the economic crisis through a city caught in the crush. Inspired by the Dust Bowl photographs of the Great Depression, the work reflects on a landscape and it’s people awash in crime, economic devastation, and hopelessness. The three chapters in my series The Great Recession represent home, industry, and government. Bank Rupture, the companion piece and dénouement to my recession work, reflects on the city and citizens of Stockton as they struggle to survive in the wake of the worst economic crisis of our lifetime. I plan to continue this work as until the entire bankruptcy proceedings unfold.
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