"Anyone can travel around America with a camera and come back with photographs, but few people can return with an edited selection of images that truly captures the essence of such a vast amount of land. We’re over-saturated with gritty New York portraits of the general public, and we’ve seen enough projects and films about middle America to last us a lifetime, so for Jack Davison to come along and give us a modern, concise window into that vast dreamworld, we are eternally grateful." - Its Nice That
The following statement reminded me of one by E.T.W.M (Escape to Witch Mountain) in their first publication, as they selected their sacred list of American replicas. "I was immediately reminded of a certain portrait by Alec Soth when I saw the below image. No prizes for guessing which one... The American West is possessed of an immense enduring hold on the photographers of now and then. Perhaps it’s no longer the same wilderness it once was, but the vast gaps still retain an alluring ‘wild’ that us indefinable. I know I won’t tire of seeing work made on the seemingly end— less frontiers of the USA, until at least I’m able to capture them myself. I wonder how many photographers can truly say they wouldn’t leap at the chance to render their version of the American landscape”. ETWM (escape to witch mountain)
Although such feelings do not relate to the work of Jack Davidson, the same naivity is drenched in the comment above. It is a gratifying introduction, worded in a similarly blasaie fashion, rendered through Kerouac inspired enthusiasm. Although the work is not our saviour to our American photographic woes, nor does it attempt to fill the boots of many that have grafted their way across the adopted land, a feeling throughout radiates new ground, and new stances yet nothing new is presented. How can we present anything new about America? Paul Graham can't, Robert Frank could not (even now) - even Walker Evans couldn't. It is impossible, we simply know too much.
But this is not a negative thing, nor does it degrade the work, for their neutral view, away from an educational background, looks at America the way he wants to, not the way he should. His eyes unphased suggest a seemingly naive view of America, away from American photographic influence. Education has not plagued him, merely a reference point of others once they see the photographs. His view can present itself unconjested, allowing his eye for imagery to shine in familiar surroundings. Nothing new or modern is on show here. Such a point overshot by the excited fingers of the cosmopolitan blogger.
His approach leaves him in an unassuming position to document the over saturated. Their tone is almost expressionless, drifting from notions of influenced style. This neutrality brings intelligence to the intensely covered, giving them a cold, hard stare, not through dough eyes. There is no love affair, merely curiosity, knowing just enough but not too much. Genuine reactions are allowed, avoiding the heavy slumped vision every photographically educated traveler takes through America, if photographic history had been their only reason for being there. This avoidance allows for them to be quite brilliant, if not anything we've already seen.