The Hankersons is a portrait series that connects the relatively small number of people who share my last name to the shared history of slaveholders and slaves, spanning 260 years. Currently, there are fewer than three thousand people with the name Hankerson, all of whom live in the United States, while fewer than ten percent of whom identify as white. Through this project-in-progress, I am following the direct line to the Hankerson ancestors, with the aim of visually joining a fractured family narrative that has been stolen, lost or misremembered.
I use the social web to connect with people who share my last name. I visit Hankersons in their homes and spend time with each to create a personal connection, before engaging in portrait making. I then turn a room into a temporary portrait studio by setting up lights and photographing with a medium format digital camera and tripod. The result is a deconstructed family of individual portraits that are reconstructed to mirror a defining national experience.
Forever and Always is a five-year long collaboration with photographer Lacey Criswell that explores the idea of family and identity through images of the notorious annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Each year, hundreds of thousands converge on the small town of Sturgis, South Dakota: thrill seekers, weekend riders, hard-core evangelists, lifelong lawless bikers. In the desire for companionship, hundreds of biker couples at the rally choose to get married or renew their vows among their fellow bikers, their motorcycle clubs, their de facto families. Forever and Always pushes against the hyper-masculine and hyper-sexualized aspects of the rally and reveals an intimacy that resides within.
In psychology, visual association is the ability to relate a visual image to other visual images in a meaningful way. In this series, I investigate formal and thematic relationships of images that precede and follow each other.