cole caswell colecaswell peripheral subsistence tintype
cole caswell

Peripheral Subsistence is one facet of a nomadic photographic trek across the United States. The images made for this project use the historic wet plate collodion process to explore the entangled survival tactics of people living or subsisting on the fringes of today’s world. Peripheral Subsistence addresses the edge that is described when living within these conditions.

The travels making the backbone of this exploration were referred to as the Unknown Expedition, a research-driven trek into the peripheral American landscape. The meandering course charted by The Unknown Expedition was determined by evolving research interests and an ever-growing network of people and places. 

The coalescing focus of the expedition investigates contemporary forms of subsistence living.

Research subjects have varied from homeless self-proclaimed punks couch surfing in Savannah to the natural gas wells that stud otherwise uninhabited high desert sites. From 2012 to 2015, the Expedition surveyed the perimeter of the United States, traveling the Atlantic coast and into rural areas of Maine, New Hampshire, Georgia, Arizona, and New Mexico. Currently the expedition is investigating public range lands and off-the-grid high desert living.