The Homeplace

PhotographerSarah Hoskins
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

The Homeplace is comfort. The place you can go back to no matter how many years have passed. It will always hold something familiar something safe.


The Homeplace is comfort. The place you can go back to no matter how many years have passed. It will always hold something familiar something safe. The sky passes in blurs, fleeting and fast moments. It began as I stood looking through a machine of glass and mirrors trying in an instant to capture all that was. I now feel the blur of lives that have left and I have lost. I am left with those static moments. Wishing those moments would move and bring me back to all that was. I am strapped down and can’t move. I know I have something running through my veins, as the pain is less. The florescent lights over head are all that I can see. They blur as I am wheeled quickly through the halls. I am the patient that they make way for. The captain of the medivac is still pushing me. Numbers are called out, stats of heart rate and blood pressure. What is my name? What is my birthday? Do I remember what happened? I feel the tears run down my cheeks. I don’t. I know my daughter is alive and safe. I know that the medivac team was like the cavalry coming to take me out of the small ill equipped and scary hospital that I was in. I have always been afraid of helicopters, today in my morphine haze I have never been so grateful to have been in one. I am being wheeled through the in the emergency room of UK hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. I am brought into yet another emergency room I can still only look up. I see the eyes that are Derek’s, the same eyes his daddy had. He strokes my hair that is matted and covered in dried blood. His warm coal colored hand holds my cold pasty white one. The nurse says, “Only relatives are allowed in here how are you two related?” I hear the smile in Derek’s voice, “ It’s a long story”. Fourteen years ago I stood in the middle of Frogtown Lane with a map in hand. I didn’t know a soul. Now 14 years later I know everyone on that lane and those who have passed away. I have been to basket meetings, funerals and family reunions. Even when I am not there in the communities they are always right here with me. Over the years like so many other documentary photographers I apply for grants to help me fund my work. More often then not I receive the letter that starts out. Thank you, but ends up with no. I would love to be rewarded with funding it would certainly help, but I have learned rewards come in different forms. I feel Derek squeeze my hand, I breath shallow and painful breaths, but I breath. I realize that I am not done yet, that I am back home to The Homeplace and I am rewarded yet again.

About Photographer

Sarah Hoskins is a documentary photographer; currently her time is split between Chicago and Lexington. Her 16 year project The Homeplace: Photographs from Historic African American Hamlets in Kentucky’s Inner Bluegrass Region was just featured on NPR's Weekend Edition as well as NPR's Picture Show. She was chosen for the 2010 Robert C. May Photography Endowment Lecture Series at The Art Museum at The University of Kentucky. Her photographs have been included in over 100 exhibitions and are in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and the Center for Photography at Woodstock, CITY 2000 (Chicago), the Lubbock Fine Arts Center, and the City of Chicago. In 2009 she received funding for her Homeplace project from The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Alice Rosenwald Flexible Fund for Schools. Her work was recently renewed for the third time at The Museum Of Contemporary Photography's Midwest Photographers project in Chicago. Her work was selected for Photography Now, 100 portfolios an international survey of photographers sponsored by Eastman Kodak. Her documentary photography projects have been featured in American Photography Annual 19, American Legacy Magazine, Foto8, Photo District News and The Digital Journalist. She is the recipient of several fellowships and grants, most recently for her long term project The Homeplace: Photographs from Historic African-American Hamlets in Kentucky, which she is currently working on. Hoskins is also an educator. She was a guest lecturer in 2010, 2007 and 2004 at the prestigious Women In Photography Workshops at Empire State College in New York City. She has introduced documentary photography to teens and adults who have never had the opportunity to express themselves with a camera before. She is on the Illinois Arts Council Arts In-Education Roster to teach documentary photography in the state of Illinois, she has received two Illinois Arts Council Short-Term Residency grants to teach photography to homeless men, women, and children.