Erinn Springer

Exposure: Erinn Springer

After years in New York, Erinn Springer’s return to her Midwest roots sparked a new and highly productive phase in her photography. Here, Gem Fletcher talks to her about her process

Like many creatives who grew up in small towns, Erinn Springer was curious about what a big city could offer her. From a young age, she set her sights on New York, a city with a dramatically different pace of life than she was used to growing up in Dunn County, a rural area of Northern Wisconsin.

Her family have lived in the same ten-mile radius of this prairie since the 1850s and continue a lifestyle steeped in agriculture and rooted in traditions and rituals passed down for generations. Springer moved to Brooklyn at 18 and stayed there for ten years before a string of events drew her back home, sharpening her photography and, perhaps most importantly, her understanding of self.

“I wanted an experience that was more abstract to me,” says Springer about the move to New York. “I was focused on filling my cup with different experiences. I never would have predicted going home to make work would have been so transformative professionally or creatively.

“I started to realise the impact this rural American upbringing had on me and the deep well of stories in this particular place. My time away had given me the distance I needed to see the interior of the US differently, and in doing that, I became a more true distillation of myself.”

Erinn Springer
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