Artist Statement

In Place is a series of three works exploring my experiences of growing up gay in Utah, at the geographical, social, and cultural epicenter of the LDS faith. The physical emptiness and desolation of the red rock deserts and expansive salt flats are symbols of the emotional and mental isolation of queer people in Utah’s cultural landscape. Through the use of the camera, my body, the land, and the photo studio, I capture the relationship of my identity to my surroundings. The weighty rocks bear into my skin while the salt leaves my body dehydrated and itchy. I carry the weight of otherness along with me internally. I feel a physical burden pulling my body down, down, down to dust. I see fulfillment in a future outside of Utah and cling to it with every stroke of energy I can muster. The camera is my guardian angel and tool for self-creation, carrying me from day to day until I find that future. 

Nate Francis is a photographic and sculptural artist who works with issues of identity and isolation. He often appears in his own work by documenting his body or performing for the camera. Nate grew up in Provo, Utah in a religious family of nine children. His work explores the consequences of his upbringing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a gay youth, as well as the hope of finding a new and more suitable environment in the future.