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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Photographer to document population centers

  • A Pennsylvania photographer plans to stop in Edgar Springs this June as part of a project to document all 23 centers of population that have been plotted after each U.S. census.
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  • A Pennsylvania photographer plans to stop in Edgar Springs this June as part of a project to document all 23 centers of population that have been plotted after each U.S. census.
    Edgar Springs was the population center of the U.S. from 2000-2010. The current population center after the 2010 census is near Plato in northwestern Texas County.
    The U.S. Census Bureau defines the population center as “the point at which an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if weights of identical value were placed on it so that each weight represented the location of one person on the date of the census.”
    The first center of population after the country’s first census taken in 1790 was in Kent County, Md., but has since moved to the west and to the south.
    The photographer and artist, Matthew Conboy, calls his project “West South West.” He is using the crowdsourcing website, Kickstarter, to help raise $5,000 by June 3. Conboy has also received pledges from Twitter and Facebook users who saw his work.
    Conboy began this project almost 12 years ago in July 2001 when he photographed the 12 most westerly centers, including Edgar Springs.
    He enlisted in the National Guard and then spent five years on active duty with the Army as both an enlisted soldier and commissioned officer before leaving the military in February 2013.
    He will spend 14 days on the road as he photographs all 23 population centers and will take photos again at the westerly centers to ensure a consistent body of work.
    To learn more about his project, visit his Kickstarter page at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1810528331/west-south-west-a-portrait-of-america?ref=live

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