The hovering installations featured in his ongoing series of photographs are inspired by self-organizing, “emergent” systems in nature such as termite mounds, swarming locusts, schooling fish and flocking birds. The images attempt to tap the mixture of fear and fascination that those phenomena tend to evoke, while creating an uneasy interplay between the natural and the manufactured and the real and the imaginary. At the same time, each image is an experiment in juxtaposition. By constructing the installations from unexpected materials and placing them where they seem least to belong, Jackson aims to tweak the margins of our visual vocabulary, and to invite fresh interpretations of everyday things.
I have struggled with the role of Photoshop in my work. I can’t make my images without it, yet I don’t really want it to be an integral part of my creative process. So I’ve set up some rules of the road for myself, and I’ve stuck to them while creating all my recent images. Basically I want the images to be as “in camera” as possible, so instead of employing PS to composite or more things around, I simply use it to remove elements I don’t want to be there. The sculpture in this image (175 glow sticks attached to a wire armature) is real, and it was photographed on the beach in Greenport, NY. I simply used PS to remove the support that was holding the thing up, and to make a few other minor tweaks. So on the spectrum between “retouched image” and “real time image”, I’ve strived to make it closer to the latter. –Thomas Jackson
Thomas Jackson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. After earning a B.A. in History from the College of Wooster, he spent much of his career in New York as an editor and book reviewer for magazines. It was his particular interest in photography books that led him to pick up a camera, first shooting Garry Winogrand-inspired street scenes, then landscapes, and finally the installation work he does today. His work has been shown at The Center for Book Arts in New York, the Governors Island Art Fair, the Gallery at Eponymy in Brooklyn and Industria Superstudios in New York. Jackson was named one of the Critical Mass Top 50 in 2012, and won the “installation/still-life” category of PDN’s The Curator award in 2013. He lives in San Francisco.