Pick A State


J. Brooks & Peggy Breeden

How We Pictured Ohio

Rick Vanderpool and my wife got me into this. I guess it is a kind of payback, of sorts. He even hints at it just a little bit in his introduction to Looking for Georgia; he says, “…after living in The Peach State for 20+ years - just long enough to get a degree from the University of Georgia,…”

You see, back in the early 1970s, I was an “instructor” (the lowest faculty rank possible) at the University Of Georgia School Of Environmental Design and Rick was U.S. Air Force graduate, entering our program in Landscape Architecture. I was his advisor and I advised him to leave our program. Actually, I advised him to transfer to the Department of Photography and Cinema because that seemed to be where his heart was, and he was very good with a camera. He was good at landscape architecture, but he was better with a camera.

So, thirty years later, Peggy and I were spending our summer putting the finishing touches on a CD-ROM for Prentice Hall, a twenty-year project of mine in computer-assisted instruction for students of landscape architecture. I wanted a photo of Carhenge and thought of Rick. I emailed him and asked if he happened to have an image that I could use. Rick said yes, and then started the dialog that brought me on board Stateart: “It just occurred to me. I need an Ohio photographer for my project. Do you have one you could recommend?”...

Then my wife got into the act: “When we finish this CD-ROM, we need another project and Stateart sounds like fun.” Peggy can make a convincing case when she puts her mind to it, and with her and Rick’s encouragement, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

After reading Rick’s proposal for the project and talking with him by phone, it sounded exciting to take part in a nationwide artistic project. He had convinced me that the Stateart was just the type of endeavor we needed to enable us to visit each of Ohio’s eighty-eight counties. I wanted to travel and Brooks wanted to get back into photography. “Looking for Ohio” seemed made-to-order for us.