It Is What It Is, is photographer Jordan Gale's exploration through the Eastern Iowa region. A native of of the State, Jordan spent two years photographing the area in an attempt to confront a past of addiction and trauma. It Is What It Is displays scenes from rodeos to dive bars, from surreal landscapes, to intimate moments of the photographer's own personal relationships. Through the project's intimate narrative the photographs explore social stagnancy and isolation in the American Midwest.
Home is an difficult concept for me. I’ve always felt conflicted when I think about my “home.” I was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; the only child to a single mother who, since before I was born, has struggled with a combination of drug abuse and poverty. As a teenager, I had assured my mother that her use of methamphetamine was never a source of shame or resentment, but this promise had steadily become harder to believe in as I grew older. My mother never quit, and in high school I acquired my own drug dependencies. At the time, I was frustrated with her, ashamed of my family's economic situation, and increasingly embittered with what I saw as a toxic community.
My outlook on the region I’m from had been tainted by these past actions, my adolescent emotions, and the paths my loved ones had gone down. This project, titled It Is What It Is began as a means to finding closure and meaning with my home. By photographing my personal relationships in my hometown, I could finally confront this past. It Is What It Is documents more than the Eastern Iowa landscape. It documents the effects of social stagnancy and isolation in the American Midwest. I hope to create a portrait of youth and decrepitude, addiction and recovery, all coexisting in a Midwest town. Through my personal narrative I wish to highlight the frustration, sorrow, and longing of multigenerational stagnation in America’s Heartland.