Above: 702 Atlantic Beach Causeway II. 2020, Archival inkjet print, 20 x 24 in.
In order to make work for her MFA thesis, Emily Hobgood Thomas had to do a bit of trespassing. She describes her practice as photographic work that uses varying degrees of manipulation to focus on the socioeconomic impacts of tourism. And in order to do that, she needed access to spaces that may have been formally off-limits. Interested in the economic decline of her hometown, Morehead City, North Carolina, which has been a regional tourism destination for several decades, she explores buildings and sites such as empty hotels and their abandoned pools, half-built structures and debris-strewn parking lots that once catered to a tourism industry. In recent decades, the area’s tourist industry has gradually diminished from its original hey-day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.