Gravette: The Heart of Hometown America
In 2010 Gravette abandoned his job with a communications company and at the age of sixty enrolled on the BA Photography course at the University of Westminster. After graduating he was casting around for project ideas when, as a result of Googling his own surname, he came across the eponymous small town in Arkansas which was to become the subject of his first book.
Gravette and Boots © Chris Gravett
Gravette’s primary interest is documentary photography. During his visit he had hoped to meet and get to know some of the townspeople, allowing this to inform his work. He discovered that his expectations were optimistic and it wasn’t until he returned to the town several months later at the invitation of an uncharacteristically outgoing resident that he managed to meet some of those he considered to be the ‘real’ residents.
Steven Martinez © Chris Gravett
Gravette’s colour work is pure documentary record. No attempt appears to have been made to enhance, light or contrive the scene he saw before him at the point of exposure. Had I been standing behind his shoulder at the time I would have seen exactly the same thing. Where figures appear he sometimes uses a shallower depth of field to seperate them from the background but he generally departs no further than this from the ‘straight photo’ aesthetic.
David Vaughn © Chris Gravett
I’m inspired rather more by Gravette’s life-planning than his images in this series although I do get the impression that the work turned out very much to his satisfaction.