Published by Verlag Kettler/D.A.P.. Text by Z. Redman. Poem by Ann Garlid.
For the last three years, photographer Doug Rickard has been immersed in YouTube videos uploaded by Americans from their cellphones. These videos, documenting a dizzying array of activities, from seemingly criminal or semilegal acts to comic antics, allowed Rickard to witness scenarios he otherwise would never have seen-"right from the hands and eyes of other people," he writes, "hijacking their own device to give me very special views and intimate situations." Reveling in this vicariousness, he found that he could be "riding in a car full of teens through Detroit at night with a camera phone hanging out the window … or witnessing, from their own lens, someone who is paying a drug addict to dance for a dollar to later get 'View,' 'Comments' and 'Likes' on YouTube." Rickard then selected and appropriated specific images by pausing the footage and advancing through it second by second. The resulting volume expands on his previous and critically lauded monograph A New American Picture, offering a darker and more dynamic portrait of America's urban underbelly, and engaging with themes of race, politics, technology, surveillance and our cultural shift toward an ever-present camera. Rickard explains the title: "[It] has always been 'N.A.,' coming for 'National Anthem' … it also could be interpreted to mean 'Not Applicable,' a common statistical check box on government forms here in the US, [or] 'North America.'" Visceral and intense, this volume offers an extraordinary inventory of America today. Doug Rickard (born 1968) studied history and sociology at the University of California, San Diego. He is the founder of American Suburb X (www.americansuburbx.com) and These Americans (www.theseamericans.com), aggregating websites for essays on contemporary photography and historical photographic archives. His previous monograph, A New American Picture (2010, 2012), which offered a view of America through Google Street View, was widely acclaimed, and (in its first edition by White-Press, Helge Schlaghecke, 2010) was voted "best book" of 2010 by Photo-Eye magazine and is reproduced on the last spread of Phaidon's The Photobook Vol. III by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger.
Published by Aperture. Text by David Campany. Interview by Erin O'Toole.
Doug Rickard’s A New American Picture offers a startling and fresh perspective on American street photography. While at first glance the work looks reassuringly familiar and well within the traditional bounds of the genre, Rickard’s methodology is anything but conventional. All of the images are appropriated from Google Street View; over a period of two years, Rickard took advantage of the technology platform’s comprehensive image archive to virtually drive the unseen and overlooked roads of America--bleak places that are forgotten, economically devastated and abandoned. With an informed and careful eye, Rickard finds and decodes these previously photographed scenes of urban and rural decay. He rephotographs the machine-made images as they appear on his computer screen, framing and freeing them from their technological origins. As Geoff Dyer has commented on the work, “It was William Eggleston who coined the phrase ‘photographing democratically,’ but Rickard has used Google’s indiscriminate omniscience to radically extend this enterprise--technologically, politically and aesthetically.” A limited-edition monograph of A New American Picture was published by White Press/Schaden in 2010; upon publication, it was named a best book of that year by Photo-Eye magazine, and quickly went out of print. This edition brings Rickard’s provocative series, including more than 30 new images, to a wider audience. Doug Rickard (born 1968) studied American history and sociology at University of California, San Diego. He is the founder of American Suburb X (www.americansuburbx.com) and These Americans (www.theseamericans.com), aggregating websites for essays on contemporary photography and historical photographic archives. A New American Picture was included in the annual New Photography exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2011.