“You know you’re in the West when you get to the Badlands. [I photographed] a Christian group; they came to this point to watch the sunrise. I saw them and thought it was strange, this bunch of people hanging around in the middle of nowhere. That’s what I was attracted to-that, and the landscape. But as I was looking through my camera, I noticed a figure crawling into the picture. One of the boys-he was 13 or 14-had climbed down into the canyons, and the group was waiting for him. They didn’t see him struggling on the side of the cliff, which is what makes it interesting; they didn’t even know he was there. I was taking pictures as fast as I could, but the kid was in trouble. He started slipping, and the ground was breaking up underneath him. My friend and I ran back to the car for some rope, and we tied it to a couple of the other boys and hoisted him up.”

–Chicago photographer Greg Stimac, 31, on Badlands, South Dakota, showing August 4th through September 2nd at the MCA. In his work, Stimac seeks out seemingly mundane aspects of Americana-campfires, snowmen, mowing the lawn. –As told to Jennifer Wehunt


Photography: Greg Stimac, Badlands, South Dakota, 2006