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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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Danea Males

SPE Member since 2011
Member Chapter: Southeast


This series of photographs represents a continued interest in documenting the visual oddities and gems sometimes found in the American landscape. The grand tradition of traveling the country and capturing the current political, cultural and environmental state of the nation has been a driving force in my work. Much like any explorer, I am always looking to discover something fascinating and honest.
Since the beginning, tribes have formed, traditions solidified, myths perpetuated, and history recorded. As a result, mankind has explored and settled many areas of the world. We rely on innovation, and will always journey toward the new discoveries that make our existence better. Along the way, we leave relics that become symbols for our faith, desires, and our regards for the land.
My photographs highlight culture primarily from the southern region of the United States. All of the symbols in these images represent the core values of the people who live here. The images visually explore the signs found in the landscape, and the roads traveled to find them. Many of the scenes that I have encountered are mundane, and people often drive by these places without much interest. I choose to photograph this environment because I am interested in how we inhabit the land, and share our values with others.
Inherent to making photographs is the obligation to ponder the experience, and reflect on our history. In a way, my work is a monument to a way of life, a cultural experience, and the different beliefs held by the American people. Like many others, I question ideas that are often considered to be unwavering fact. History, knowledge and experience affect perception for everyone. The imagery takes advantage of that fact, and perhaps the visual irony that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Down the Road, Commerce, Texas, 2012

Republican Headquarters, Somewhere in New Mexico, 2011

Statuary, Ware Shoals, South Carolina, 2012

I-20 near Talladega Superspeedway, Lincoln, Alabama, 2012

Downtown Neon, Ladonia, Texas, 2012

Jesus Christ is Lord Travel Center, Amarillo, Texas, 2012

Dead Kudzu, Pelzer, South Carolina, 2012

Gas Station Memorial, Longview, Texas, 2012

Christmas Decoration, Wolfe, Texas, 2013

Crosses in the Curve, New Mexico, 2011

Hidden Treasures, Quitman, Texas, 2012

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