What I Have Learned From Photographing 400 Towns in Iowa
Cody Weber

I understand how people get caught in a down cycle: owning property that has less and less value; trades and business transactions that slowly disappear; and seemingly no way out of their conundrum. But there are ways out if people band together and invent new ways to earn a living, remain independent, and stick together through thick and thin. Whether in a depopulating rural area or a decaying inner city neighborhood, the dynamic is similar: declining life supports and dark futures.

These can be turned around with great effort. And some help from the outside as well. The truth is that American care about all Americans regardless of where they reside; it is just very difficult to know what to do and how to respond.

If we are spending our time on TV, I-Tunes, and electronic games, or at parties — endless parties, then we do not know what is happening with those unlike ourselves. But for those of us who do care and pay attention, we are available to help. And often do.

The secret is engaging more people in the engagements.

I am a senior citizen engaged volunteer work crossing generations and cultures. I don’t have money to travel out into the country anymore, or take any sort of vacation. I just remain engaged with those near enough for me to reach. And they reaching me as well.

There is hope in all of this. Sometimes those we see as victims do play a role in their own victimhood by doing little or nothing. They do need encouragement to do something different.

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