I have been working on a project that involves going back through my Wharton County archives of photographs, rephotographing some of them, and displaying the pairs as a diptych with the more recent image below the older one. This makes it easier to see the differences between the two images. Some differences are subtle, and some are more noticeable, but it is fun comparing the "back then" with the "now". My archives date back to 2004, and most of the new images have been made in 2021-2023 so far, but some before that. As of now, there are one hundred diptychs, with more images chosen and waiting to be rephotographed.
Through the years, my artist statements about Wharton County have always referenced the land. The land itself is Wharton County’s most valuable asset, and what attracted and sustained its first stouthearted residents in 1822. My intention has been an ongoing effort to photograph the land and the structures built upon it, along with recording the small town persona and history of this county -- the beautiful, the everyday, as well as the quirky.
As a resident of Wharton since 1973 I have been observing the changes Wharton County is going through and have photographed this area since 2004. I have witnessed how weather, varying economic conditions, and time have all done their work on this place over the years. Urban sprawl is marching little by little towards Wharton County, wiping out farmland and replacing it with big box stores and other marks of suburbia along the way. Undoubtedly Wharton County is still a living, breathing part of Texas, populated with people of the same resolute spirit as the original colonists, but as I continue photographing all this, I wonder what it will look and feel like 10 years or 50 years from now.
© Sharon Joines Photographs