Sarah Christianson

The Search for Homeplace

Entryway, June 2008, Gelatin Silver Print

"The search for homeplace is the mythical search for the axis mundi, for a center, for some place to stand, for something to hang on to." -Lucy Lippard, from The Lure of the Local

For me, home is a 1200-acre farm in the Red River Valley of North Dakota. Its original 160 acres were homesteaded in 1884 by my great-great grandfather. My parents are the fourth, and last, consecutive generation to work our land, as my siblings and I have all moved away to pursue other careers. These circumstances, and the realization that I was part of a larger rural exodus, provided me with the impetus to document our farm at this critical junction. I combine my images with materials from my family's archive to create a rich, multi-layered narrative about family tradition, agriculture, emigration, and the passage of time. Homeplace is my contribution to the farm's palimpsest, and it is a document that will provide evidence of its story to future generations.

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