Esprit de Corps
At first glance, it seems marching bands should no longer exist. With a decrease in civic engagement over the past few decades, a decline in popularity was poised to follow. But in America, the band became inextricably linked to football, and it now persists as anachronism. Even independent marching groups called drum & bugle corps manage to survive and flourish despite the high cost of membership.
I joined the marching band when I was 14 years old. Performing music while in motion was both unfamiliar and thrilling, and it ultimately changed the trajectory of my life. A kind of family formed around me at a time when it was most critical, and through this new structure and discipline, I began to better understand who I was as an individual.
With arts budgets under attack in the US, vital programs like these are at extreme risk, especially in less affluent areas where they’re needed most. Marching band isn’t about music or marching; it’s a vessel for people to learn to pursue a common goal that transcends their individual efforts.
Photographs inspired by life amongst the oil fields, desert, and canyons of my birthplace in West Texas.
My hometown of Orange, Texas rests squarely between the American Deep South and Texas, and as such, feels like a place unable to fully identify with either region. I come from a family of Southerners — mostly Mississippians and Alabamians. It was my own lack of a distinct regional identity that piqued an interest in visiting the places that might have made me a true Southerner, had I been raised there. I spent almost a decade wandering the region in search of an understanding of what I'd missed out on. The results were unsurprising and beautiful.