nathan pearce – midwest dirt

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Nathan Pearce

Midwest Dirt

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When I was 18 years old I packed my bags and left rural Illinois. It had been my home my entire life, but I thought in leaving I would find the perfect place for myself elsewhere. In the city everything and everyone I knew was very different from what I knew back home and yet at the same time familiar. The wild and restless days of my youth were in full swing. But when I awoke those mornings I still expected to see my old midwestern life.

Where I was living wasn’t exactly the wrong place for me, and at its core my life wasn’t drastically different, but it wasn’t home.
I came back home to live almost a decade later. I still have no idea if this time I will stay for good, I don’t know if that will ever happen.
The wild restless days and nights haven’t ceased.

Some nights when I lay down in my bed and close my eyes I fantasize that I didn’t ever return. I dream that I could get right back up and go over to my corner bar in the city and have a drink looking out on the crowded street.

But I’m not there. I’m here. In the country.

Now it’s just after harvest time, my favorite time of year. The fields are almost cleared and I’m barefoot on my porch with a beer in my hands. I can see for miles.

This project is about a time in my mid twenties when I can feel the tension between home and away.



Nathan Pearce (born 1986) is a photographer based in Southern Illinois.
He also works in an auto body repair shop.


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Nathan Pearce


54 Responses to “nathan pearce – midwest dirt”

  • There is a little over a day left to help fund Midwest Dirt.

    Just a few hundred dollars away from a good working budget.

    I truly appreciate the support I have received from the Burn crowd since this essay was posted.

    I hope anyone who hasn’t given the page a look will whack it out and consider buying a book.

  • Damned autocorrect…

    That should read “check it out”..

  • I haven’t been this enthusiastic about someone’s project in awhile. I think it may because of its authenticity, its look from the inside out at the heart of the U.S. The reason may not matter. The best just hits you. I’m honored to have the opportunity to contribute, I hope others see what I do in this and help support Nathan’s book as I have done. I know its going to be a good one and suspect it will serve as a wonderful, perhaps even important, historic touchstone in where we are, or rather, where we were. To me, this is the best kind of work. Nathan, I still owe you a box of birdshot. All the best.

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