Men of Men by Tyler Roste

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Poetic photographs that capture the impact of industrial and economic change on the small town communities along the Delaware River.

New York-based photographer Tyler Roste has been fascinated for years by rural America and the way the history of a place has undeniable ties to modern communities. After moving from his native Kansas to New York, he began exploring the Catskills and the small towns built alongside the Delaware River. With the Men of Men series, he aims to capture the “American-ness” of these place and their soul as well as their decline due to the impact of industrial and economic change.

Similarly to “American West” images, the series captures rural communities and landscapes that still carry remnants of their industrial past. The work of William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy also inspired the series. “There is richness to the culture that presides here, a trueness to them, something deeply rooted in the souls of the past. A thread tied to the ghost of an older America,” says Tyler Roste. The title of the series also references history. It’s a translation of the name of the Lenni-Lenape tribes who had lived in the area before European settlers arrived.

The photographer used a large format camera for the Men of Men series. Often somber but always poetic, the images show portraits, interiors, and rural settings or natural landscapes. Wrinkles mirror the path of rivers, while abandoned houses with peeling paint resemble man-made structures reclaimed by nature. One photo shows small white crosses at the edge of a clearing. Another captures a graveyard underneath a blanket of snow. An old photo on a wall, a thank you card, and a closed eye portrait are some of the other soulful details in the series. Photographs© Tyler Roste.

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