The Dempsey County, Ohio Documentary Project


Dempsey County, Ohio is in many ways a typical Midwestern county.  In American mythology, we romanticize it as an idyllic place where family values ensure that people work hard, and life is simple and good.  But today, its towns are no longer the self-sufficient communities they once were.  Less than 5% of Americans actually live there anymore, small businesses wither, and those who remain are increasingly poor, dependent and isolated.

By day this distress is embarrassingly apparent, so when I go to Dempsey County I work at night, when it has quietly unfolded into a life-size stage set which is unique to the nighttime.  Wandering freely as an anonymous voyeur within this still life, I photograph unique places that are larger than what can, or could, be found at their precise geographic locations.


All content (c) Franz Jantzen, 2016