In this photography project, I explore the profound symbolism of the American flag as a mirror reflecting the vast and varied landscape of the American dream. Just as a tapestry of traditions and protocols binds the flag—dictating its display, folding, and retirement—so too is it emblematic of the ideals and aspirations that define the nation. These guidelines present the flag in its most dignified form, mirroring the collective hope for America to embody its finest virtues.

Yet, inherent in the fabric of this symbol is a recognition of our shared humanity. Weathered and worn flags continue to fly—not as a mark of disregard but as silent testaments to lives rich with intention yet intercepted by the realities of existence. This dichotomy between aspiration and reality echoes the American dream: a concept as diverse and multifaceted as the people chasing it. For some, this dream is a vivid reality; for others, it remains an elusive shadow.

Through my lens, I capture the flag in all its iterations—from pristine to tattered, from the affluent suburbs to the forgotten corners of urban decay. Each image serves as a narrative, a story of struggle, hope, and the enduring spirit of a nation. The diversity of the flags’ conditions and settings speaks to the diversity of the American experience itself, a reminder that while we may strive for a collective ideal, our paths and outcomes vary greatly.

Reflections on progress and potential: this project is an ode to the complex beauty of America and its people. It is a visual dialogue about our nation’s ideals, challenges, and the enduring spirit that propels us forward. Through the varied states of our flags, we see the true face of America: resilient, hopeful, and beautifully imperfect.

In capturing these flags, I aim not just to document but to provoke thought, ignite empathy, and kindle a shared sense of purpose. This is an exploration of the American dream in all its forms, a recognition of our shared journey towards an ideal that, despite its elusiveness, continues to unite us in our diversity and drive us towards a better tomorrow.