Back in Houston there are rich southerners, the kind who have bad taste and do it tacky. Their taste gives them away: overly decorated, going out of their way to display their wealth, fakeness all over the place, etc. It could be the reflection of a southern inferiority complex. As for me, I grew up in a suburb outside of Houston that was primarily middle-class, white, and where almost everyone had the same amount of money and lifestyle. It wasn’t until I moved to New York City that I noticed the vast disparities of income that can be observed within a small area, even a single city block, and started to incorporate these observations into my work. I don’t associate with the poor and homeless, although due to my student loans I feel like I should, and I don’t associate with the wealthy, either. Of course I want the opulence that the wealthy have, but I don’t want them to share their wealth with me and others who are less fortunate and level the playing field; I want to earn it myself, and I want there to still be a sense of selectivity.
Like most others, I strive for the best lifestyle possible: I want the nicest clothing, the best food, the biggest apartment, and so on. But also like many people, I don’t necessarily have what I want. Therefore, I’ve started fabricating a certain lifestyle through photography that involves adopting a particular persona when in front of the camera. Rather than documenting how my life differs from what I aspire it to be, I have compiled a collection of images that document this faux-wealthy lifestyle as though I am going through life taking “snapshots” or handing the camera off to someone near me. By creating situations that I want to be real but are not yet, I am visualizing our need to be unsatisfied with what we currently have in order to achieve more. For me, playing dress up in front of the camera is practice for when I do finally join a higher social class. And this giant leap in class and income that we strive for, all within one lifetime, is the story of America.