PhotoSummer: Artist's Statement

Tamara Reynolds

The Drake

The Drake is a series of portraits, still lifes and streetscapes that document the lives of people existing just above survival on one square block around a motel in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Drake Motel is located in an area ignored by developers, a microcosm of the disregarded or resentfully tolerated. Alcohol and drug addiction are prevalent among those who live in its shadow. Prostitution, panhandling and day labor have become ways to maintain addiction.

The Drake offers a means to delve deeply into a world far removed from my own but also perilously close – how my life might have looked had I not found the resources that led me to recovery. The work continuously challenges my concept of empathy and how to photograph my subjects in such a way as to 'make the unseen seen.'1 I am passionate in my intent to push back against a society of increasing culturally endorsed behavior to not acknowledge the marginalized. These are not easy pictures, but my hope is that the images give space for viewers to move closer, to enter the stillness of the photographs and consider the lives of those looking back.


1Linfield, Susie, The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence (University of Chicago Press, 2010), p. 258.