"William Klein said 'Photograph a riot like a wedding and a wedding like a riot.'"
Kim Komenich / MPW.61
"In spite of the pain and the agony - enjoy it."
—Duane Dailey at MPW.61
In the second half of the 19th century, Ebenezer B. Ward simultaneously founded the American Plate Glass Company and the town of New Detroit in the silica-rich area that rises up from the Western banks of the Mississippi River. New Detroit would become Crystal City, the adjacent town of Tanglefoot would become Festus, and these cities 34 miles south of St. Louis would remain inextricably linked in the 140 years since.
Visitors to the Twin City community of Festus and Crystal City have difficulty knowing which town they’re in at any time; it often changes in the middle of the block. The Wal-Mart Supercenter straddles the city boundary, but public services are duplicated on either side of that boundary. Each city has its own police force, volunteer fire department, library and school system, and the sales tax revenues from the Wal-Mart are equitably divided between the two cities.
During the first stretch of crisp fall weather in 2009, from September 27 through October 3, 31 photographers, 12 faculty and 16 University of Missouri School of Journalism students blanketed Festus and Crystal City to document life in these small towns, fine-tuning their story-telling skills in the tradition of Cliff and Vi Edom and six decades of photographers that came before them. The photographers journeyed to Missouri from Dominican Republic, Canada, India, Romania, Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, and all points domestic to explore small-town life in Missouri.