The photographers of the Clinton County projectthere were nearly twenty of themdid not work quickly; they studied the lay of the land, met people, drove the streets and alleys of every community, and knocked on several hundred doors. More than two years, countless miles, and several thousand images later, the result is A Place Called Home.
One of the most ambitious photographic projects ever compiled in Ohio, it arose as idea in the minds of two local womenJoann Chamberlin and Leilani Poppwho saw it as a fund-raising vehicle for their Clinton County Foundation. Its execution fell to the localOrange Frazer Press, whose urban art and coffeetablebooks had put it within the orbit of some of the best photographers in the country. And so it began,the diverse group ranging from Thomas Witte (journeyman Sports Illustrated shooter) and Dan Patterson (one of the country’s foremost military aviation photographers), to Thomas Schiff (who brought in his 360-degree panoramic camera) and Ty Greenlees (the lead photographer who brought his own airplane for aerial shots).
It was the photographic equivalent of bringing the Special Forces into Clinton County to chase down insurgent photographs. Naturalist and landscape specialist Ron Levi mapped most of the county, studying its agrarian vistas through four seasons to learn where the light fell most advantageously. Bob Flischel, the noted portrait photographer, came in from Cincinnati for lengthy sessions involving a sound stage of lights (as well as the patience of his subjects). The photographers juggled whimsical weather and the vagaries of people, machinery, and livestock. They scheduled and re-scheduled.
The foundation, in a farsighted moment of its own, gave the photographersmost of whom did not know the countya virtual carte blanche to discover the essential imagery of the place we call home. Their work to locate our universal imagery has become a picture of life in one particular Midwestern place, held firmly by two centuries of agrarian small town traditions even as it moves itself into a less-traditional future. Picture by picture, these photographers demonstrate how we live and work and play, and they do this in such a compelling fashion that their narrative picture leads others to wish they lived here, as well.