© Richard Schramm
Looking Back to Look Ahead
By Richard Schramm
Artist: Richard Schramm
Project: Past and Present in a Southern Town
Description: In his photographs, Richard Schramm captures the town of Enfield, North Carolina—a place that is currently “looking back so that it can look ahead.” Enfield has a rich agricultural history, but like many towns of its kind, mid-twentieth century mechanization upended the local economy. Today, Enfield is home to many abandoned storefronts and warehouses.
In an effort to revive the spirit of the place and to draw attention to the town’s past, residents have decorated vacant shop windows with antiquated household items, which speak to the town’s sense of the past and hopes for the future. Enfield commissioned artist Napoleon Hill to paint a mural near the center of town that celebrates the town’s agricultural heritage. His mural features two laborers in a field with their backs turned to the viewer. The racial identity of the laborers is left purposefully ambiguous in an attempt to unite members of both races through their shared history in this place.