A place called home

March 23, 2001 § Leave a comment

Ms. Tomlinson and the House of Tomatoes | Paul Kwilecki

Decatur County is an ordinary rural county located in southwest Georgia. The population is 25,000 ordinary people, and Bainbridge, the county seat, has about half of these.

In 1959, when I was 31 years old, I decided to test a theory of mine, and Decatur County seemed an ideal model on which to try it. Looking at documentary photographs from all over the world, I was struck by similarity more than difference.

If my theory were true, I could bear witness as well in Decatur County as in Copenhagen or Tokyo. In this dispatch from the front which I was determined to deliver, the message was the details.

It would be a big order, taking years to achieve. But that could be turned to advantage. Working on a single project over a lifetime nurtures continuity, breadth of scale and an assay of community dynamics that would be beyond a lesser venture.


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