This is the second in a series of five books, published as I continue my frequent visits from my home in the United Kingdom to the vast and numerous States of America.
Since completing Volume One I’ve travelled to rural locations where farming is the dominant industry, from the Great Plains of the Dakotas and Montana to the snowbound terrain of the Pacific Northwest. But I’ve also visited more overtly politically-charged regions, including the Californian barrier with Mexico and a return to the Rust Belt.
The publication of the first book hasn’t dispatched all the work I’d made before then to the scrapheap. Instead I’ve continued to draw on pictures made from the beginning of the project (in 2012) and will do the same for all subsequent books. I have a keen sense that I’m assembling a large and complicated jigsaw puzzle with little idea of what the final picture will be. Nevertheless, America continues to enthral and frustrate me in equal measure.
The books are organised neither geographically nor by subject. That would be impossible, of course, because this remains a work-in-progress. In any case, over the decades I’ve learned that separating projects – America in this instance – into single ‘micro-subjects’ doesn’t sit comfortably with me. The world is too complicated for that. Instead, I continue to collect pictures of many subjects that seem to me to be interconnected. I might suggest that this is the easy part; making sense of what I’m doing, by editing an already overwhelming body of work into sequences that begin to speak of what I’ve seen, is more difficult.
While Volume One contained many pictures I’d lived with for years, the majority of the images in Volume Two are recently made and, as a result, are more difficult to view objectively. We passed through many manifestations of this ‘difficult second album’ until, at last, we reached a solution that felt right.