Nathan Pearce

Trespassing on the beach from Midwest Dirt


Wavepool – The Midwest, and southern Illinois in particular, has a strong presence in all of your work. Have you worked on projects outside of the region? Do you currently have any interest in doing so?

Nathan Pearce – I have worked outside of the Midwest on occasion but as far as a fully formed project goes I am currently finishing the shooting portion of my first project that is based entirely away from my home. My first photobook was called Midwest Dirt and it was about home but referenced life away from home. The new work sort of does the opposite. The pictures are from road trips but still reference home.

Wavepool – Midwest Dirt has a very personal narrative and is specific to one place, but there seems to be a lot of relatable themes and emotions. Did you think about the audience at all while working? How do you hope to connect with viewers?

Nathan Pearce – I don’t think that I was really considering the audience when I was shooting. It was later when putting the work together as a book that I realized that even though the Midwestern setting is very unfamiliar to some the themes that I explore including the tension of home and away during your mid twenties are very relatable for people everywhere.


book spread from Midwest Dirt


Wavepool – You recently published the work in a book and have shown it in some notable book exhibitions. Can you run me through the timeline of the project, from start to finish? How much time was spent photographing, and how much time was spent thinking and fleshing out the book?

Nathan Pearce – The project includes some photos that were made years before the project was formed or had a name. I finally started putting photos together in 2012 in a way that made sense as a project. Once I had an idea of where the project was going I continued to shoot for another 6 months before it was published online for the first time on Burn Magazine. The project didn’t even have an official name until I had to send the work to Burn. I started working with Matt Johnston who is a founder of The Photobook Club a month or so after that to turn the work into a photobook. We worked on it for over a year before it was finally printed and designed by Akina Factory and published on Same Coin Press.

Wavepool – Can you tell me more about Same Coin Press, a publishing project that you’re a part of? How did that start and what are you up to with the project?

Nathan Pearce – I started Same Coin Press with a fellow photographer named Claire Cushing. We started by publishing a split zine together and decided to continue making zines and photobooks featuring our work and the work of other photographers. We will be releasing several new publications in the next few months including a few more split zines. I think the best part of the project is people who would of had no chance to see our work have had a chance to see it and own it through our books and zines. The books and zines have gone all over the world. I think I have almost shipped more internationally that I have domestically.


book spread from All Night Long v. 1


Wavepool – What is most exciting about the photobook? Any favorites?

Nathan Pearce – There are many exciting things about the photobook but lately I am especially excited about all of the events based on the photobook that have occurred this year. As you mentioned in an earlier question my book Midwest Dirt has been included in some photobook exhibitions and I was able to travel to a few of them. I think these type of events can really expand the public knowledge of the photobook which I think will lead to more good photobooks and more collectors and other folks interested in the photobook. Expanding the knowledge of what is possible in book making to emerging photobook makers is the most exciting part to me. I am very excited to see where the photobook will be taken next. Some of my favorites that I have seen this year are Mary by Tammy Mercure, Mommy Cooks Dinner by Gwynne Johnson, The Last Road North by Ben Huff and Come Again When You Can’t Stay So Long by Tara Wray.

Wavepool – As an artist residing in rural Illinois, how do you situate yourself within the larger art community?

Nathan Pearce – Though I live hours away from my closest photographer friend I still feel connected to the art and photography community. Luckily the internet has given me a chance to connect with a lot of fellow photographers and expose me to a ton of great bodies of work and photobooks. Living in a rural area I rarely get to see an exhibition of photographs but I can pick up a photobook and see great work. I learn about almost all of those photobooks through my involvement in the photography and photobook communities on the internet.


The hunt from Nothing Ever Happens

To see more, please visit Nathan’s website.