Misplaced Fortunes

My name is Ross Mantle. I am a photographer dividing time between self-initiated projects and client commissions. I am a co-founder of Sleeper Studio and teach courses at Carnegie Mellon University.

412 418 8730  
Pittsburgh, PA

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Weaving together a tapestry of photographs, original and found text, historic imagery, and typographic symbols, Misplaced Fortunes operates as a literal and metaphoric treasure hunt. Using the myth of General Edward Braddock’s pay-chest as a starting point, this lyrical project navigates three centuries of history, legend and lies to explore America’s colonialist ambitions, its obsession with progress, and the stories we choose to tell about it.

Searching for a treasure that was likely never lost to begin with could be seen as an act of futility. But my pursuit of it, metaphorically, allows for degrees of surrealism and absurdity to emerge in the storytelling, attributes that only complicate the way that Misplaced Fortunes depicts Appalachia.

One doesn’t start by asking one and all where a treasure is. That’s an opener, but a better questioning method is to express interest in local recluses, scandals, missing fortunes, rags to riches, back to rags stories, murders, suicides, once-rich families now poor, robberies, and that sort of thing. Don’t be afraid that a good many people will think you a bit touched. They will and that’s ok. That’s part of the price of being a treasure hunter.

— H. Glenn Carson Cache Hunting

InfoI work with photography