by Meghan Clemm
Having grown up near a medium-sized city, the thought of life in a small rural town was always full of the possibility for bucolic charm for me. I used to speed past entire communities on the interstate in under ten seconds, pondering what the daily routines of the people who made a life there could be like and wondering if I should stop and try to take part for an hour. When my husband’s job relocated us to Grove City, I knew we’d have some adjusting to do, but the change mostly seemed like an adventure. In fact, having recently begun to consider art as more of a career than a hobby, a home away from tall buildings and noisy traffic sounded like the perfect place to start.
When we first settled in, I wasn’t aware of the local arts scene that was about to emerge. I was, however, captivated by the charming architecture and the inviting shops of Olde Town Grove City (which, on most days, I still want to say should be located on a road called Main Street, but the actual location of Broad Street is slowly winning over my mind). If I wanted to get involved in the goings on of the locals, of which I was now one, Olde Town seemed like the place to spend some time. As I began a yearlong photography project to jumpstart my creative career, every corner and every detail caught my attention as a possible subject or location for an image. Making my way through unknown treasures in local shops awakened in me stories that I became excited to tell through my photography.
As my goal was to make an artistic image every day, my local excursions sometimes took me outside the town limits and into the surrounding landscape. Everywhere I traveled, my head would be on a swivel, looking for the perfect place to stop and photograph. I was thrilled to learn that our town is located so near to the vast and beautiful Moraine and McConnells Mill State Parks. Even Grove City’s own Memorial Park, bike trails, and football fields provided me with the inspirational settings I needed to create the pieces that lived in my mind.
I found that returning home dirty and tired after spending hours in an (almost always) uncomfortable position until I was sure I had my shot filled me with a sense of accomplishment and wellbeing. For those hours, I had felt the sun on my face and heard the birds in the trees, and I had been doing something that made the most of my surroundings and my skills. As it turns out, Grove City and its environs were the perfect place for me to explore and grow as an artist. I’ll never forget the year I spent every waking minute obsessing over photography and the place that allowed me to make something beautiful out of it.
*Meghan’s work can be found at b’Gifted and online at www.mclemmphotography.com