22 October 2009

Jerusalem, Utah 3

Kylee Jasper, a Snow College art student wrote:
Being a Utah resident my whole life I did not know that a Jerusalem, Utah, existed until about a month ago, even though the town was established in 1871. When first venturing into this unknown place the impression it gave was: Jerusalem, Utah – rural community, northwest of Moroni, Utah, consisting of six occupied homes. I decided to explore these two obvious elements, rural community and the limited number of homes.

Rural community: early rising, empty fields, odor, stray cats, and privacy. During the three times I went there to shoot, I only saw three people. One man came out to let his dog take care of some business as he questioned me about being there. After answering his questions, he politely excused himself and went back to the comfort of his isolated home.

An hour had passed when I saw a teenage girl come out of the same house and walk to the corner of the only intersection of the town. Moments later, I turned around to face the one road that leads into the town and saw a Northern Sanpete High School bus. The nearest high school to Jerusalem is in a town called Mount Pleasant, two towns over. I was surprised that a bus traveled that distance for one student. I later approached this student, Alex, on another day while she was skipping out on a day of school. Alex repeatedly voiced her opinion on everyone in the town calling them crazy, as well as telling me that everyone in Jerusalem has gone to jail at least once. That put an interesting twist on the sweet, quaint Jerusalem that I had been photographing. She then gave me permission to come in to photograph whatever I pleased, as she went back to play on the Internet.

A man drove by in a truck, not changing pace as he passed. I watched him stop at a house that the owners no longer occupied and were not allowed to rent out because of a black mold outbreak. The driver got out of his truck attached a metal grid panel to the ball hitch of his truck leaving a trail of dust from the dirt road behind him

While getting to know Jerusalem, the structures in it became more intimate. My favorite house is the first house you see as you enter the town. The same home that Alex and her father live at. I was drawn to this house from the beginning but as I walked around to the back of the home, I found it more interesting. This house must have gone through quite a few remodels because the front of the home is white stucco with turquoise trim and the back is wood. It seems as though everyone in Jerusalem takes what they have and utilizes it to its fullest. The buildings in Jerusalem tell the history of the town. There are barns that are slowly collapsing and some old homes that have been kept up. Alex also told me that most of the people who live in Jerusalem or their families have always lived there, except for her and her dad who moved in when she was in elementary school. It sounds as though no one comes in and no one comes out.

The solitude and distance from civilization of the town reflects the people perfectly. It is quiet in an eerie kind of way. Being there early in the morning not hearing anything besides the shutter release on my camera kept me on edge. I did not know why I felt so uneasy about being in this small town. However, after replaying what Alex said in my head I started to wonder if I subconsciously picked up on the abnormalities of the locals. Or it could possibly be that I have seen too many horror movies with the setting being in a small quiet town. After getting to know this quiet town, I am leaving Jerusalem, Utah, viewing it as an even more mysterious place than I did before.

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