Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Carl Gunhouse

America Statement 

“Under their rule, the federal government is permitted to throw hundreds of billions of dollars around on a misguided bank bailout, but if a banker like John Thain spends $1,500 on a wastepaper basket then all hell breaks loose. Dazzling personal consumption is out. Middle-class drabness is in. It’s sad, but there’s nothing to be done” –David Brooks (02/02/09 Op-Ed column in The New York Times) One way or another, everyone grows up believing in the American dream, an unspoken contract that if we work hard, behave ethically, spend within our means and put some money aside, we will be rewarded with economic security, a significant other and aspirations within our reach. A dream that has been augmented in recent years with the promise of smart phones, 3-D plasma televisions, eco-friendly luxury cars, and most of all, a new home with a sizable yard in pristine suburban neighborhood with good schools. This desire for security and consumer luxury has become so ingrained that these goods feel like entitlements due us for our hard work and sacrifice. And over the last decade, these dreams have been stoked by banks offering pre-approved mortgages, stock portfolios promising minimal risk, and car loans with no money down -- all the tools needed to live the good life. But as American society indulged its desires, the economy imploded, leaving us with empty homes in half-finished subdivisions near malls with the stores that are coming soon to sell merchandise affordable to fewer and fewer of us. The country is caught in suspended animation, littered with enticing ads, large car dealerships and lavish Las Vegas fountains, all the more desperate to attract whatever disposable income is still out there. Meanwhile, the product of this uncontrolled spending lingers in the half finished construction projects, abandoned suburban cineplexes and foreclosed homes that have become all too familiar. Consumption has destroyed the American dream and the earnest assumption that an ideal life is guaranteed by hard work, a college degree and playing by the rules. Instead we are left with entry-level jobs, no opportunity for advancement, no benefits, inescapable debt, and the cold comfort that we avoided a Depression. Our desire for something more has brought consequences visible in every corner of America. In these spaces, we can see the America we have become."

Carl Gunhouse was born in 1976 in Boston, Massachusetts, but he spent his formative years in suburban New Jersey. Growing up, he developed a love/hate relationship with suburbia that led to the angst familiar to most suburban youth. With this unrest came the discovery of the anger and DIY ethics of hardcore punk rock. Yearning to be part of the hardcore scene, he started photographing bands, which began his love of photography. To escape suburban New Jersey, Carl enrolled at Fordham University in New York City. While completing a BA in European History at Fordham, he discovered that photography could be something to pursue a career so he decided to simultaneously complete a BFA in Photography. After going on to earn his MA in American History from Fordham, Carl concentrated on street photography. In hopes of developing and refining his photography work, Carl completed his MFA in Photography at Yale University. Since graduating, he has found a great deal of personal satisfaction teaching as an Adjunct at Montclair State University, Marymount Manhattan College, and Nassau Community College. He has also gained some renown for his straightforward writing on photography for such web sites as Searching For the Light, Lay Flat, and American Suburb X. His photography has been shown nationally and internationally. As an artist, he has produced a body of landscape and portrait photographs by driving around the United States to expose the little visual bits of America that give voice to our shared history and experience. Carl currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

View more of Carl's work here 

Carl also writes for www.seacrhingforthelight.net

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