Hyers and Mebane

Between 2004 and 2007 Martin Hyers and Will Mebane made a series of road trips through the American South, West and East to create a photographic archive of objects. The project, titled EMPIRE, yielded more than 9000 photographs captured in twenty-five states.

Using two hand-held 4x5 view cameras Hyers and Mebane ventured out into public places, met strangers, and accompanied them back to their homes, offices, and factories to photograph. Working in a deliberately forensic fashion, they photographed the objects they encountered – stoves, family photographs, computers, trophies, etc.

Many of the objects included in their project are discomfiting because of their impending obsolescence - an overhead projector rests on a table, a typewriter sits on a desk, a set of encyclopedias waits well-organized on a yellow bookshelf. 

Photographs © Martin Hyers and William Mebane