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Picture Show: Images from the Center of the Contiguous United States

During the last presidential election, the phrase "Middle America" was used routinely by both candidates and members of the media. "This constant buzz around 'Middle America' sparked my curiosity in what the literal middle of America actually was," writes the photographer J. Bennett Fitts, "if there was one at all."


During the last presidential election, the phrase "Middle America" was used routinely by both candidates and members of the media. "This constant buzz around 'Middle America' sparked my curiosity in what the literal middle of America actually was," writes the photographer J. Bennett Fitts, "if there was one at all." As it turns out, the center of the contiguous United States is Lebanon, Kansas, a town of about 250 people that has been greatly affected by rural flight.

In the following images, Fitts explores the landscape of Lebanon, which he photographed several times over the last year. He'll soon relocate to Lebanon for a three-month stay, during which he will continue photographing as a means of creating a more intimate portrait of the place and its people.

Here is a collection from J. Bennett Fitts's ongoing project "Images from the Center of the Contiguous United States."\n\n
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Picture Show: No Lifeguard on Duty

J. Bennett Fitts traveled some 20,000 miles to produce "No Lifeguard on Duty," an investigation of America's forgotten...

J. Bennett Fitts traveled some 20,000 miles to produce "No Lifeguard on Duty," an investigation of America's forgotten roadside motels. These vestiges of an earlier era-when families packed into their cars for summer vacations via two-lane highways-now exist in various stages of operation and disrepair. With their parking-lot-adjacent swimming pools prominently in the foreground, the motels reveal a decayed Americana and a near permanent sense of vacancy. However, beyond the cracked paint and the decrepit chain-links lies the nostalgia of life on the open road.

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