Driving a Table Down


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112 pages, 100 color photos, 8½ × 9 inches
eBook, perpetual ownership: 

On September 23, 2018, photographer Barry Phipps drove seven hours south from his home in Iowa to his parents’ house in southern Missouri. There they wrestled a family heirloom into his car—a wooden table for his Aunt Diane—and Barry and his mother drove more than twelve hundred miles to Di­ane’s home on Florida’s Gulf Coast, stayed a few days, then drove back to Missouri. 

Phipps presents the 104 color photographs in Driving a Table Down—selected from more than 2,000 photo­graphs taken over the twelve-day trip—in sequential order to show, in his words, “what does and does not change as one travels through shifting cultural and geographic regions.” By capturing the present mo­ment while referencing the past with faded signs, al­most obliterated murals, closed businesses in quiet towns, forgotten tourist attractions, and many other layers of historical accumulations, the photographs illustrate the stark fact that the present is never en­tirely present tense. Phipps’s attention to the real-time details of rural regions of the Midwest and the South, juxtaposed with personal photographs of his family, gives us a momentary definition of America in a state of flux, an America that looks to the past in a time of an uncertain future.