The Loneliness and Nostalgia of Rural America

Rural icons.

Bygone diner, Burger Treat in Montana.

In self-taught photographer Arnaud Montagard’s work, what isn’t in the frame is felt as acutely as what is. The loneliness and nostalgia of the mostly unpeopled images, quiet moments in rural America in medium-format film, are palpable, like a moment captured after it’s over. “I would say the word ‘community’ is generally the word that is at the foundation of all of my work,” the Brooklyn-based artist says. “I am searching for common threads that bring these communities together—it can be a place they have in common or a shared passion, a shared way of life.” Born in Nancy, France, Montagard first got into photography in his youth, through his graffiti art, before moving to the U.S. eight years ago to follow his interest in unexplored states. “I’m very interested in American icons, the ones of our collective imagination, discovered through cinema and painting, accessible to everyone,” he says. “I like to explore the concept of time, creating a sort of timelessness that raises questions and invites deceleration.”


Gallery wall at a small-town bar in Wyoming.


Beauty of decay in South Dakota.



Cultural artifacts in South Dakota.



Weathered in Nevada.


For more of Arnaud Montagard’s work, visit @arnaudmontagard.