Eliza Lamb: Hopewell

By  |  January 13, 2015

Artist: Eliza Lamb

Location: Hopewell, Virginia

Artist Statement:

The event of going home is a complicated one. Although I moved to Hopewell as a child, it has never truly been a place that I could relate. to. In fact, my earliest intentions were to leave as soon as possible, and although I did just that, I cannot deny the soft spot in my heart that it still occupies or the pull back that still consumes me. The story I present here is less about a town and the people that live in it and more about my relationship to it—a marrying of both the frustrated teenager I was and the sentimental adult that I am. Once a thriving port during the Civil War, Hopewell hasn’t seen its heyday since. Today it struggles to keep its economy afloat and the local grocery stores in business, but, unlike many American cities, Hopewell isn’t on the decline. In fact it has been about the same my whole life—a small, unchanging factory town in central Virginia. It is a city that seems to make futile attempts to re-establish itself but somehow slips tiredly back into what it was before. This is a place where trying seems to count as much as doing, traditional Southern values still rule, and optimism is born but seems to fade away quickly in the heat. I’ve often wondered why this parcel of Virginia seems to be standing still and unchanged. Now, years later, I’m finding that I might just be looking at it all wrong. Maybe my lens of success doesn’t matter here, maybe it’s not even right. Maybe all that some people, some places need is simplicity and continuity—maybe they don’t need the next step, and maybe they don’t want it. Maybe here hoping is enough."

Eliza Lamb is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is a graduate of both the Savannah College of Art and Design and Columbia University, where she is currently a doctoral candidate. Eliza is a photographer who believes in the art of finding the images that surround her. She uses a manual medium format film camera and shoots exclusively with found light. Her photographs have been featured in exhibitions and publications nationally and internationally and have won numerous awards and accolades. Most recently her work has been featured at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Morris Museum, the SCAD Museum of Art, PDN, Lenscratch, and Fraction Magazine. Eliza currently lives and works in New York City. www.elizalamb.com

Jeff Rich is a photographer based in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Jeff currently teaches photography at Coastal Carolina University. He curates the OA’s weekly photo series, Eyes on the South.