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.
Since 2007, I have been collaborating with photographer Lacey Criswell to document a slice of the notorious Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. Though photography, we explore the unexpected topic of love at the rally. See more at www.iluvsturgis.com
In psychology, Visual Association is the ability to relate a visual image to other visual images in a meaningful way.