Nathan Pearce tells a life between conflicts and paths to be undertaken


Nathan Pearce (born 1986) is a photographer and book and zine maker based in Southern Illinois. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally; including group shows at Griffin Museum of Photography, Unseen Amsterdam, Centro Fotografico Manuel Alvarez Bravo in Oaxaca Mexico, Phoenix Art Museum, Center for Creative Photography, Carnegie Museum of Art, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Filter Space and Benaki Museum in Athens Greece with solo shows at the PhotoNola festival, Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, and The Rangefinder Gallery in Chicago.

Pearce’s work is held in several collections including the Museum of Contemporary Photography -Special Books Collection, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, The Snite Museum of Art and the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection at School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has been published in over 150 zines and books as well as online.


About ‘MIDWEST DIRT: Chapter 1’:

When I was 18 years old I packed my bags and left rural Illinois. It had been my home my entire life, but I thought in leaving I would find the perfect place for myself elsewhere. In the city everything and everyone I knew was very different from what I knew back home and yet at the same time familiar. The wild and restless days of my youth were in full swing. But when I awoke those mornings I still expected to see my old Midwestern life.

Where I was living wasn’t exactly the wrong place for me, and at its core my life wasn’t drastically different, but it wasn’t home. I came back home to live almost a decade later. I still have no idea if this time I will stay for good, I don’t know if that will ever happen.

Some nights when I lay down in my bed and close my eyes I fantasize that I didn’t ever return. I dream that I could get right back up and go over to my corner bar in the city and have a drink looking out on the crowded street. But I’m not there. I’m here. In the country. Now it’s just after harvest time, my favorite time of year. The fields are almost cleared and I’m barefoot on my porch with a beer in my hand. I can see for miles. This project is about a time in my life when I can feel the tension between home and away.