About

Iowa

It looks like this in every direction.

Corn, framed by square-mile grids of pavement and gravel, roads through one of the flattest, most fertile, most agriculturally overtaxed parts of America, the small towns pervaded by the same cables and phone signals that carry the memes we all now share. The roads go to all elsewheres; they lead back and away for me in an endless cycle.

I grew up in Iowa, studied in China, taught in China, was educated here, then London. Watched a lot of B-movies and enjoyed every minute. I went traveling, went home, worked as a writer, learned how to take pictures (I’d like to think). It all didn’t necessarily in that order. You could say I’m a ‘freelance creative artist’ or ‘digital professional’, but if you’re reading this page you’re quite possibly all those things too, whether you want to be or not.

Travel. Research. Writing.

Photography. Digital anthropology.

That last term should have a bit more explanation: I recently earned my masters’ in Digital Anthropology –  which, in lay terms, looks at technology in everyday life, whether we’re on the cutting edge or don’t even know what an ‘app’ is: in a Midwestern farmhouse, urban townhouse or village in the Congo. I wrote my dissertation (here’s a summary) on atheist summer camps: what tech is and isn’t used therein, all the work that goes into making an experience in ‘nature’ seem ‘natural’, and how a community of non-believers who largely came together via the Internet chose to take their families to the woods for a week. My current overarching career plan is to continue this general field of research in a PhD within the next few years, with dissertation research on the longevity and selectivity of digital information. While freelancing, of course – and I’ve got time before then to do plenty.

For some of my work: in 2013 I contributed to  the Material World anthropology blog on the history of King’s Cross station; wrote for the London-held Ethnography in Praxis Conference (EPIC) website (about the suburbs, eccentric museums and the Tube); and shot pictures for the Nature Conservancy and Andy Juhl & the Bluestem Players’ release Lost Upon the Ground.wrote copy full-time 2008-11 for Buena Vista University, including news stories for local media, features for university publications, stories of once-illegal alcohol and high-tech human-ape communication and almost all the academic promotional content for the school’s website. I did a 2011 film column in Minnesota’s New Ulm Journal and directed and edited a faux newsreel for Iowa River Players‘ production of “It’s A Bird… It’s A Plane… It’s Superman!”

If you would like to say hello, or have a research, writing, or photo project, get in touch!

Praeh Ko, Angkor

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