These photographs investigate teenagers and young adults raised amidst a backdrop of mass exodus after years of economic decomposition in the Michigan. My hometown of Saginaw is repeatedly reported as having the most violent crimes per capita in the country according to the FBI. Flint and Detroit are also frequently listed in the notorious “top ten.”

Primarily I focus on the disenfranchised, the misunderstood, the urban pioneers, the aspiring thugs, and the hipsters whose youthfulness contrasts the harsh condition of the places in which they are photographed. I am interested in how these specific locations shape the aspirations, both positive and misguided, and attitude of its residents. Of particular interest to me is how this under-populated yet developed urban landscape promotes a type of freedom due to lack of order. This commonality among the young inhabitants photographed poses questions about the fragile uncertainty of the region’s ability to renew itself.

I was born and raised in Michigan and personally witnessed how the economic nosedive affected friends, family, and communities. This is an important and pivotal time in the state’s history due to the recent national focus on this area brought about by skyrocketing unemployment, controversial automotive bailouts, bankruptcy, and continuing crime. My background as a former resident allows me to view Michigan with a level of intimacy and familiarity that more fully addresses the physical as well as the mental ramifications of living in such a challenging place.

Daniel Farnum, Photographer 

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Dan FarnumDaniel Farnum was born in the blue-collar town of Saginaw, Michigan. His photographs address the American experience, landscape, and culture and have been showcased nationally in several exhibitions and galleries in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York.

He is the recipient of many notable awards such as the Aperture Award from The Print Center in Philadelphia, two prizes from the Paul Sack Architectural Photography Contest, Grand Prize Winner of the Missouri Top 50 contest, and the Juror’s Selection Award given by Christopher Rauschenberg at the Center for Fine Art Photography. Daniel recently received an award in a show titled Landscape Interrupted by William Jenkins, who was responsible for the New Topographics exhibition while curator of the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House.

Daniel received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and BFA from the University of Michigan. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Photography at The University of Tulsa.