© Nicholas Nixon, 2022
In 1977, Nicholas Nixon’s exhibition Longer Views: 40 Photographs by Nick Nixon opened at MoMA in New York. The contemplative distance of city views, such as those of Boston or New York, that characterized many of the photographs in the show, would nevertheless disappear from his work shortly after. Without abandoning the desire for objectivity that guided his previous work, Nixon’s gaze moved closer to the urban landscape at the street level, accommodating for unexpected events in his working process. The human figure began to appear and with it a progressive sense of social awareness.
In 1982 Nixon finished the project that reflected this new vision; Plant City, Florida is one of the resulting images. A focus on new geographies arose within this shift in his work, such as rural areas in Florida, Kentucky, and Mississippi. The people in these photographs are portrayed in open spaces, for example by a riverbank, or on a beach, but there are also numerous and significant photographs where the subjects appear on the porches of their homes, an intermediate space between the intimate and public domains. In these images, whose careful composition emphasizes the complex reality that Nixon wants to present while avoiding dramatic effects, there is a sudden sense of proximity. Bodies take on a new relevance in these photos.