27 June 2022

Richard Sharum Documents the Often Overlooked Midwest of the US

27 June 2022 - Written by PhMuseum

Spina Americana depicts the reality of this portion of land in the US, which finds itself fragmented by politics and forgotten by the rest of the country.

In reaction to the gaining momentum of a fractious American identity, and what it means for our future as a nation going forward, ‘Spina Americana’ (American Spine) attempts to understand a critical and often misunderstood area of the United States, in a time of political division not seen here since the 1850s.

I decided to focus my attention on a 100-mile-wide path of land, 50 miles east/west of the geographic center. It runs vertically from Mexico to Canada, traversing the spine of the United States, as an independent and unique feature that deserves its own examination, where most of its occupants have been ignored politically, socially, and culturally for many decades.

The commonly used expression for this area is “flyover country”, which denotes a land of banality and unimportance, culturally and otherwise. 

Unbeknownst to most Americans, the Midwest has actually seen an increase in population and their agricultural output amounts to 6% of our national GDP, an impressive amount of food that literally feeds millions here and abroad. I want to see the backbone of America- what feeds it and what powers it.

My hope is that I can create what may be considered eventually and through time, an American document that highlights the diversity and complexity of this often ignored area and its role in contemporary history. Hopefully, upon completion, this work will add to the conversation of who we are as a people, both historically, and currently, and who we may become in the future.

Words and pictures by
Richard Sharum 


Richard Sharum is a documentary and project-centered photographer based in the Dallas, Texas area.  Mainly focusing on socio-economic or social justice dilemmas concerning the human condition, his work has been regarded as in-depth, up-close, and personal. His debut book, Campesino Cuba was published last September with GOST (London). Follow him on Instagram and PhMuseum 


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PhMuseum curators.

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