Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a new exhibition featuring Western Doughty's 2015 series, The Trailer Park. Western is a noted Oklahoma photographer who captures the vivid contrasts and unseen beauty that reflect his childhood growing up in Oklahoma, where race, class and gender struggles impacted him in a profound way. The Trailer Park series offers a rare and positive glimpse of a community that is often viewed as "lesser than", instead focusing on the enduring allure and cultural value that exists in unexpected places.
"Dotting every community along Route 66, trailer parks defy the kitschy, invented stereotypes of the road along which they were hauled to reach their current resting places. These spaces fill lots with tightly packed rows with trailer parks. Areas that have given rise to blue collar jokes, television shows, and conversational references to low class living.
These parks are full of residents who have been there for months, years to generations of families. To explore these communities and why we are so fascinated with them in Middle America, I decided to rent a trailer myself. It began as a simple month-long endeavor, but much like many trailer park residents, I ended up staying longer than originally thought.
One year later, having made friends with residents, shot photos almost daily, and settled into the unique rhythm of trailer park life, I knew I had what I needed. Looking back through my art after its gestation, I realized that through the images captured, I had come to see that while some may believe trailer parks are where dreams go to die, they are also full of individuals and families who struggle through life like everyone else. People living in trailer parks are packed into a sort of forced community. While this negates any notion of privacy, it also breeds resilience, interdependency, and support.
In the climate of today’s political and ideological crossroads, perhaps our absolution as a nation lies in acknowledging the struggle. Coming together as a community despite socio-economic brackets can possibly help negate the invented images we construct about how others live. In doing this, we can become more unified and effective as a society." -Western Doughty