In the Roots Run Deeper series, I explore the construction of our attachment to and dependence on place. I explore my connections with a land and a people to which I am tied through family history and genealogy. It is a coming to terms with the land, the people, and the connections I now have as an outside observer. 

The images reflect a search for a sense of place and belonging. As a child, I moved away from the land, returning only to visit family. I would go for drives down dusty, country roads with my grandfather. He would point out places and explain their relation to me through family history and genealogy. I longed for connection with faceless strangers inside these houses, the families behind store signs’ names, and long-since abandoned family farms. 

The work is an intuitive one. I allow the camera, the places, the relics, and the land to draw me as I revisit the American Southeast, searching for my decaying roots and a lost connection that is, by birthright, mine.

-Kellie Cason O'Connor