I recently discovered Lauren Fleishman’s work while looking at an old copy of The Fader. After a visit to her website, I found myself especially captivated with her Indiana series. Here she talks about her experience shooting in this rural area and exploring the stories that hide beneath the surface. ‘In May of 2002, I was commissioned by The New York Times Magazine to go to Northern Indiana and document the life of a 22 year old factory worker. I was 23 and had never traveled within The United States. From someone growing up in a small apartment in a big city, Northern Indiana was very different from what I was used to.
There I met groups of young people, ages not so far from my own, living in a vast space of farmland and factory. The beauty of the area was often strikingly disrupted by the cold exterior of the many factories in town. Prefabricated housing was spread out in what could be perceived aa neighborhood with the same precision and planning in which they had been built. The consistency was a striking contrast to the nature that surrounded it. I was always struck by these opposites. On one hand there was incredible beauty in the light and the animals and land that, having grown up in Brooklyn, I had never seen. What was there naturally and what had been allowed to flourish and grow would always contrast with what had been built for maximum efficiency.
There was also the way things seemed they should be, especially in a community so heavily based around religion and church. Nothing was exactly how it was intended. The influence of religion cast a striking contrast to the enormous amount of drug dependency, broken families and relationships. For years the people of Goshen have welcomed me into their homes and their community. I’ve used my camera to try to make sense of this place and my feelings about it.
These images are from my trip in September of 2007’.