Josh Buss's Roger Mills County

 
 

September 7 - October 27, 2007

Roger Mills County by Oklahoma photographer Josh Buss featured medium format film photography and a crisp, realistic style that recorded the people and landscapes of Roger Mills County. Buss stated about his work, “Roger Mills County is a place largely shaped by people who no longer live there. During the past one hundred years, the population of the county has declined from 12,000 to 3,000. These photographs are of the people and things that remain.” Roger Mills County was part of Untitled’s year of Oklahoma-related exhibitions in honor of Oklahoma’s State Centennial. 

I have spent the past eighteen months traveling to Roger Mills County to photograph her land and the people who live on it. During that time I have developed a strong appreciation for the vast expansiveness of both. The residents of Roger Mills are tied to the land in a way that is uncommon in modern America and both visibly wear the marks of the other. 

Roger Mills County is a place largely shaped by people who no longer live there. During the past one hundred year the population of the county has declined from 12,000 to 3,000. These photographs are of the people and things that remain. Although the county is mostly empty it is not wilderness. None of the land has remained unplowed or undrilled. This combination of man’s all encompassing touch combined with the lack of man has made the county a unique place.  Through these photographs I hope to reveal the unusual beauty that I have discovered. 

To make these photographs I used a medium format film camera. The relative bulkiness forced me to work in a slow and methodical way. Most of the photographs were taken from a tripod. Whether I was shooting a portrait or a landscape the slow pace made me consider my subject in a very careful manner. When photographing people I spend very little time actually shooting. Most of my time is spent getting to know them and building rapport.

- Josh Buss, Artist

Visit his blog and see more from the Roger Mills County collection.