We live in a time of political fragmentation and discord where cherished institutions seem under attack. America’s identity appears to be one of polarization, with a lack of common values to draw the country together. How does one define individual liberty during these times? What does the Statue of Liberty, which once inspired and beckoned individuals from around the world, mean to us on this celebratory Fourth of July?
It is an era of many questions and few answers. These snapshots of the statue from my collection are like shards of a mirror whereby the whole is elusive. They are abstractions which seem ghostly; a mirage thru which we are attempting and hoping to achieve some clearer vision of a brighter future for this nation. Photography can help elicit memories of better times, creating a nostalgia for what seems lost or missing and a hope for what will be. Patriotism isn’t an abstraction like these images. It is what this holiday is all about.
Images from the Collection of Robert E. Jackson. Follow him on Instagram to see more.
Robert E. Jackson has collected snapshots since 1997. In the fall of 2007, his collection was the subject of a show and catalogue entitled “The Art of the American Snapshot: 1888-1978” which was on view at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. In early 2008, the show traveled to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. A second book featuring his collection was entitled “Pure Photography.” It was published in late 2011 by Ampersand Gallery & Fine Books in Portland, Oregon and included sixty images chosen by Jackson to embody the non-narrative aspect of snapshot photography. There was also an accompanying exhibition at Ampersand. In addition, over twenty of his photos were included in the 2011 bestselling young adult book “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs. In October of 2012, Seattle based Marquand Books published photos from Jackson’s color snapshot collection in the book “The Seduction of Color.” In June of 2013, Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York City featured his collection in a show entitled “Snap Noir: Snapshot Stories.” His collection has also been featured online on Slate, Design Observer, HAFNY, and PetaPixel. Jackson holds a MA degree in art history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a MBA from the University of Texas, Austin.