When I tell people that I’m originally from Southern California, I often receive the incredulous question: “Why are you in Ohio?” Indeed, when I arrived here for graduate school in 2012, I assumed, like I think many people do, that Ohio was a relatively homogenous flyover state. As a photographer who specializes in religion, I didn’t know what I would document.
How wrong I was. Over the past six years, I have been fascinated to learn about the multitude of faith traditions and cultures that are thriving around Ohio. This collection of photographs represents some of eclectic communities I’ve had the privilege of meeting and documenting, including Gospel clowns, Norse pagans, Druids, Muslims, Jews, psychics, Jains, and Serbian and Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, among many others. But what has been even more striking to me is how these communities are often hidden in plain sight, seamlessly integrated into everyday life and American experience. They are diverse but approachable, and often, incredibly relatable.
In some ways, I’ve found Ohio to be a microcosm of America: a place where people of many ideologies meet and mingle, and sometimes entangle and clash. The tensions and suspicions engulfing the rest of our polarized nation are visible here. But so, I hope to illustrate, are ways to reconnect and heal.