Rural America has always provided inspiration for artists looking to document nature’s majesty and local color. But too often, they restrict their scope to one or the other — we either see idyllic images of snow-covered mountains and hidden brooks or condescending depictions of local people and landmarks. The truth, as anyone who grew up in the boondocks can tell you, is that real rural life is a mix of small-town quaintness, natural beauty, refreshingly down-to-earth people, economic depression, and, yes, a bit of undeniable backwardness. In his On Wisconsin series, Milwaukee-based photographer Mark Brautigam captures all of these things: We see a white-light sunset over a storefront that must look the same way it did in the ’50s, a small group fishing in a big, beautiful stream, a trio of guys sunbathing surrounded by makeshift reflectors. He neither celebrates nor mocks his subjects — and that’s what makes his photos so rich. Click through for a gallery of our favorite On Wisconsin photos, and then visit Brautigam’s website to see more of his work.
Photo credit: Mark Brautigam [Spotted via Booooooom]