Searching 80,000 miles for the American dream

picture copyrightIan Brown

Photographer Ian Brown travelled greater than 80,000 miles across the US, attempting to find the that means of the so-called American dream.

“The concept of the American dream has at all times been rooted within the mythology of American tradition,” he says.

“It’s actually only a obscure idea that the majority would assume to imply that if one works arduous, there may be alternative to raised one’s life.”

Setting off in 2006, the Canadian travelled to every of the 50 states, asking his topics to write down down their desires and aspirations.

“Some advised tales of their struggles,” he says.

“Some wrote about their hopes and desires.

“And others wrote about their very own failings and misgivings.

“The outcomes had been heart-breaking, provocative, inspiring, stunning and sometimes compelling and really uncooked – very similar to America itself.”

Whereas politics and ideologies modified all through the 12-year mission, the photographer discovered the notion of the American dream remained fixed.

“What has turn into evident is that the thought of the American dream provides a novel tether to each individual all through the nation,” he says.

“It transcends political and cultural divides.

“It may be made harder.

“However it could possibly by no means be taken away or denied.”

Here’s a choice of Brown’s portraits and excerpts from his topics’ personal American desires.

picture copyrightIan Brown

Punhele DeCosta – Maui, Hawaii

“As an indigenous girl, it’s arduous for me to look at the land to be so disrespected.

“Indigenous folks know the land one of the best.

“We have now taken care of it ceaselessly.

“And, in flip, it cared for us.

“Now as we have now been colonised, we have now an impending local weather disaster.

“What was seen as progress was actually solely progressing us into our personal doom.

“Indigenous voices have at all times been talking.

“And it is time these in energy pay attention.”

picture copyrightIan Brown

Antoinette Harrell – Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana

“I’m an individual of African descent in America.

“And I’ve seen the various faces of injustice for folks of color.

“My American dream is to finish poverty.

“My American dream is finish slavery in all varieties.

“My American dream is to finish police brutality.

“My American dream is to see my grandson develop up.

“My American dream is deliver the lacking youngsters residence.

“My American dream is to finish homelessness.

“My American dream is to finish the pipeline to jail.”

picture copyrightIan Brown

Greg and Ellen – East Liverpool, Ohio

“The American dream to me is rising up not worrying about the place the subsequent bit of cash is coming from – being able to discover a job that takes care of every thing you want, so your partner would not must work.”

picture copyrightIan Brown

Sura – Salt Lake Metropolis

“Earlier than I got here to America, I believed that I may lower your expenses, that I may have cash to vary my household’s life.

“I believed I’d be working and incomes sufficient cash to save lots of.

“However after I got here right here, I realised that it is arduous.

“We do not know tips on how to begin.

“I’ve a dream I hope to attain in America.

“I hope to take a certificates of… pores and skin well being and… have my very own work.

“I consider I’ll have a profitable enterprise.

“And will probably be large and have a a number of branches all over the place on this planet.

“Then, I can assist my household and everyone [who] wants assist.”

picture copyrightIan Brown

Gary Inexperienced – McCarthy, Alaska

“I’d have been good being born in 1850 and being a part of the westward enlargement, exploring new and unsettled land as a hunter, trapper and prospector.

“I found the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska as a younger man and pursued that dream on the lookout for and discovering gold, guiding hunters, and trapping within the winter.

“Constructing a house and residing in wilderness areas has been my dream so long as I can keep in mind.

“Now as these mountains turn into extra settled, I exploit my bush aircraft to go to the extra lonely lands.”

picture copyrightIan Brown

Maria Castro – Immokalee, Florida

“My American dream is constructed on the backs of my immigrant dad and mom.

“Rising up we did not have a lot.

“What I knew of the American dream was on the TV – the white faces with the white fences.

“However wanting again, my American dream is crammed with the smells of chemical compounds – , the chemical compounds they placed on tomatoes to make them look good.

“Whereas my dad and mom had been simply easy farmworkers that labored under minimal wage and had been checked out with disdain due to their tomato-stained garments, they confirmed me what the American dream is.

“It is sacrificing every thing for a ‘higher life’.

“My American dream is not financial.

“My American dream is a sense.

“I wish to really feel true happiness.

“I wish to go searching in the future and say, ‘Sure, this is the reason my mother, my dad, and my grandparents crossed the Rio Grande.'”

picture copyrightIan Brown

Artwork Tanderup – Neiligh, Nebraska

“Rising up, the American dream appeared fairly easy – get an awesome schooling, work arduous, increase an exquisite household, be productive, and make this nation and Earth a greater place – appears extra like a fairy story now.

“Within the time that I’ve left, my American dream is to face as much as the forces that divide us, to empower the folks, to save lots of our clear water, and to guard the Earth.”

picture copyrightIan Brown

Justin Lansford – Tampa, Florida

“I served two excursions abroad with the US Military’s 82nd Airborne Division.

“On my second deployment, I used to be severely injured in fight.

“I proudly served our nation and willingly poured sweat and blood whereas defending and defending a single thought – the American dream.

“It is humorous, as a result of till now, I’ve by no means truly considered what precisely that dream means to me.

“I’ve seen locations on this world the place folks do not have the posh of desires.

“Locations the place a person’s sole function is to remain alive and the place even that’s completed in fixed concern of these round them.

“In the USA, we really are free – free to set our personal targets, free to succeed, free to fail.

“The chance on this nation is such that the one impediment between us and our targets is ourselves.”

picture copyrightIan Brown

Johnson household – Centuria, Wisconsin

“Our American dream is easy.

“The rewards are usually not issues.

“They’re experiences – a meal, a dialog, a stroll, a hug.

“Our American dream is just not simple.

“It requires grit, persistence and drive.

“Our American dream is just not unique.

“In our American dream, no-one is left behind.”

American Goals: Portraits and Tales of a Nation is printed by Ten Velocity Press.