What the Living Carry unveils a small town named Hoy’s Fork, situated in the American South. Drawing on memories of the rural setting in which he grew up, Virginian photographer Morgan Ashcom brings together photographs, type-written letters and a hand-drawn map to build a fictional narrative of a foreboding place.
Leading us on a trail through the town and its surrounding forest, Ashcom presents scenes that point to a mysterious history, and people whose familial connections remain unknown: a forlorn old man, with champagne to hand, reclines on the corroding steps of a once grand home; a bloodied mattress is carried through an overgrown field; a solitary child burrows into a meadow, while on the streets, a man dutifully cleans a white picket fence – a vision that belies a local mural of a distant, ancient land.
Interspersing this fragmented narrative is a set of texts – four letters responding to ‘Morgan’s’ request for DNA analysis – written by ‘Eugene’ of the ‘Center for Epigenetics and Wellness of the Spirit’. If What the Living Carry provides a set of clues to unravel the enigma behind this strange world, it is through a visual record that is simultaneously autobiographical and imagined, and inclined to elude.
About the Author
Morgan Ashcom (born in Free Union, Virginia, 1982) is a photographer based in Charlottesville, VA. He received his BFA from George Mason University and his MFA from the University of Hartford. Ashcom’s work has been exhibited and published both nationally, internationally and has won numerous awards including Center’s Choice Awards, the German Photobook Award and Center for Photography at Woodstock’s Photography Now Purchase Prize.
Ashcom has been an artist in residence at Light Work and has taught photography at Western Connecticut State University, Ithaca College, University of Hartford, Cornell University and the University of Virginia.