Artist's Statement

Brian K. Edwards

The Vanishing Middle Class examines the decline of rural, suburban, and urban communities that has occurred in many parts of the United States. Many economists, sociologists, political scientists have long suggested the existence of a second America, and a recent book by MIT economist Peter Temin (The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy) argues that the middle class is vanishing and America is becoming more of a developing country instead of a developed country. Using images taken in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico, this series of images suggest narratives of change, decline, and abandonment. Looking at this phenomenon at a higher level, somewhat akin to a windshield survey, these images are depictive and observational, and do not attempt to answer why this transformation of the American middle class into two groups has taken place. Instead, these images document place and provide a glimpse into the surface of an emerging second world where workers earn lower wages, are saddled with debt, and if they are employed, work in industries that offer little of the job security afforded workers in the financial and high technology sectors that account for an increasing share of the benefits of economic growth in an increasingly globalized and technology-driven world.