Alrinthea Carter: A Word From the #47 Artist
After years of shooting abandoned houses and factories, I’ve become strangely comfortable with the smell of old wood, ghosts, squatters, and the occasional need to wade through a few feet of kudzu and all that lies within. It’s good to have a good pair of rubber boots. Kudzu is an analogy for how we show love in the South—slowly, subtly, and before you know it, you’re covered in it. To be a Southerner is to remember a dark and stormy past, while looking to the future with hope, and maybe even a little fear.
We hold onto our past with fierce pride, almost to a fault. The factories and homes left behind after the slow death of the South Carolinian textile boom are witnesses to what used to be, and stand almost defiantly against the progress that was to be their ruin. Now they are silently consumed and reclaimed by the elements. My work aims to tell their stories, to brush aside the Kudzu curtain to reveal the treasure troves of machinery, classic architecture, and gorgeous color that just wants to be uncovered and allowed to shine once more.
While I am lucky to have online resources to help me locate these locations, and trade tips with other “Rural Explorers,” I still prefer to just hop in my Jeep and drive deep into the countryside, looking for homes and mills lying just out of sight by the sides of roads, in valleys, and sometimes right smack in the middle of farmland. I get excited when I find rusty hunks of machinery or chimneys that have become home to large trees. I add nothing to these scenes, preferring to shoot them as they were left by their past inhabitants.
My aim is to continue my work to include all regions of South Carolina, and to extend out and feature the Abandoned Space of the Southeastern United States.