SLEEP CREEK by Dylan Hausthor & Paul Guilmoth
"the town is quiet, the streets are empty. but if you take the road into the backwoods, you’ll start to hear some noises. a branch snaps and there are voices, laughing. a few lights are on at one house and a fire burns behind a barn. and if you relax your eyes you can see that there are people all around. the folks who live further out don’t follow the same rules. they have their own idea of what the night is for.
dylan hausthor and paul guilmoth listen to the people who tell them stories of birth and death and their photographs are remnants of those who live along a little creek that floods on the same day each spring. this book is the result of many days in and around the stream and a testament to the power of the myths that fuel the towns in the distance."
— vivian ewing
Dylan and Paul have been working together since 2011 but they only started making ‘Sleep Creek’ in 2016, when they lived together in a cold house on Peaks Island, a small island only accessible by boat off of the coast of Maine. They gave themselves the boundary of the island as a perimeter to make photographs. It began as a traditional interest in place—a documentary of a piece of land and stories of its inhabitants, but as the work began to expand they let their thoughts cross-pollinate with those outside the island, namely their families and the lands that we were raised on.
“There’s something deeply personal about many of these images, but we hope that there is something more universal in the intensity of the characters and their interactions with the land.” — Paul Guilmoth & Dylan Hausthor
‘Sleep Creek’ is entirely shot in New England, for the reason that this was the only region that the artists knew. Even though the place holds a strong regional identity, Paul and Dylan didn’t want the work to represent or speak to a regional identity but to use the region as a backdrop for more unhindered ideas of story, myth, and character.
That said, they do believe there is something specifically inspiring about the simultaneous history and youth of this part of America. In their own words: “Colonialism is apparent everywhere, every square foot of woods has been tainted by something human, and every pond is always covered with algae. There is anonymity in all of their characters, akin to the faceless identity of small-town New England”.
Even though ‘Sleep Creek’ blurs the borders of reality and fiction, the intention of the artists was never to confuse, but rather to build a place from the ground up, leaving little remnants of the place they initially set out to document. Their impulse to contort “place” had to do with the inevitable ways the exterior world affects one’s interior landscape and experience of it. There are no beginnings, middles, or ends in their experiences of the world, nor a hard line between the experienced and the directed.
Paul Guilmoth and Dylan Hausthor are a collaborative artist duo based in the woods of the Northeast. Their practice is primarily focused on photographic and bookmaking art; occasionally questioning the boundaries of both. They co-founded the publication studio Wilt Press in the winter of 2015 and together make work that centers around the myth of place and the complexity of image-based narrative.