Failetown, USA : Where Faileure Is Always An Option (In Progress)
Deep in the pine forests of rural Alabama, set along the Tombigbee River, lies Failetown, a modern-day ghost town. The nearest neighbor is a little over a mile away and the directions to get there involve over three miles of dirt roads.
The property belongs to the Faile family, which has dwindled over the decades. For several years the land has been unoccupied for the most part aside from a few seasonal hunting camps and Raymond Gill, who was born and raised and remains a caretaker of the land. My best friend, Nina Faile, decided to use her courage, strength, and determination to radically change her life and surroundings amidst the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and move from Chicago into her ancestral trailer on the Failetown property she inherited along with her brother, Clayton.
I visited first in 2011, then 10 years later in the humid heat of August 2020 to assist in cleaning and reorganizing the trailer, a repossessed 1979 FEMA trailer from Hurricane Frederick and was uninhabited for almost a decade. I returned again in February 2021 for deer hunting season under the tutelage of Raymond, who patiently guided me through the hunting and butchering process for my "first kill." I am planning to visit again during winter 2022 and am grateful to get away from my Chicago apartment isolation anxiety and enjoy the quiet of the trees and nature and document my experience.
In times of turmoil, the easiest thing to do is to give up. I am inspired by Nina’s courage to move, and am reassessing my life in Chicago and preparing to make my own drastic lifestyle changes due to pandemic unemployment and uncertainty. These images are part of a documentation of Nina, her family, Failetown, and the emotional process of returning to settle the ghosts of her ancestors.