Doug Rickard appeared alongside Moyra Davey, George Georgiou, Deana Lawson, Viviane Sassen and Zhang Dali in the 2011 edition of the annual “New Photography” exhibition at MoMA last winter. Rickard’s new book, A New American Picture (Aperture), responds just as much to the exhibition’s title as to Stephen Shore’s new project, which the photographer describes as his “first image of America.” Both artists free themselves from the imposed format: Shore moved to 8 x 10 to adapt his frame to his intentions, while Rickard combines several images captured by Google Street View into a single composition. Each image—which the artist does not describe as photography, in the conviction that the work’s concern is equally social and aesthetic—incorporates blurred silhouettes. The stretched lines of bodies wandering the deserted streets, the codified attire, all contribute to this portrait of America devastated by the recession. Shore and Rickard, too, have imposed their series as the recognition of new photographic tools, Shore with color and Rickard with digital images. The landscape format of Rickard’s work invites us to contemplate these nameless places and visit them ourselves, if only virtually.
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