Tag Archives: Suburban Life

Stacy Swiderski

New Jersey photographer Stacy Swiderski  is also an artist and educator. She is predominantly interested in night photography and
issues surrounding suburban identity. As a member of the Young
Photographer’s Alliance mentoring program in 2010, she traveled to the Gulf Coast
to complete a project based on the theme Answering Adversity. Her work has been
exhibited in New York at the SVA galleries and at Calumet. Prior works have
been exhibited at the Parsons Benefit Auction at the Swann Galleries.

Stacy was raised in the suburbs of New Jersey, has traveled
numerous occasions, and has lived
in both New Hampshire and Alaska. She holds degrees from Parsons School of
Design (BFA) and the School of Visual Arts (MPS Digital Photography). She is an
adjunct faculty member at Felician College and Middlesex County College, and
loves teaching as much as she loves being an artist.

NIGHTS is an exploration of suburban living environments and the ways in which
people personify themselves through the external environs of their homes. The
investigation takes place during the night to capture a stage without its
actors, allowing us to formulate views and assumptions about particular
suburban lives by examining the artifacts left and the oases created outside
the home. During the night we are able to explore these bedtime communities
left untouched and are provided with a glimpse as to why people live where they
do, how they live, and what their yards tell us about who they are.

My objective is to impartially depict my subject and offer insight into suburban life from a perspective one is not accustomed to seeing at a time when one is not accustomed to looking. Through the examination of suburban nights, I hope to initiate an evaluation of preconceived notions surrounding suburban life and to explore concepts of personal space, isolation, and territorial boundaries.

MEN AT NIGHT examines man, in a period of existential space, in
the suburbs, at night.
is an attempt to explore a daydream in the evening; a pensive moment where
alternate lives, hopes, dreams, and unactualized ambitions can be fathomed. The
camera, functioning as a portal to the subject, provides access to his life for
a second in the night.

In this series of portraits, I attempt to document a secret ambition, possibly something left unsaid or undone, yet revealed through a gaze. Where would these men be if they were not living their current lives: if they were not husbands, providers, fathers, workers, and inhabitants of somewhat sedentary suburban lives? If not this, than what other life would they have chosen? Where would they be if they were not here?

Being a product of the suburbs, and someone hyper-aware of suburban stereotypes, it has become a natural influence on my work as a photographer. It is a place when an oasis and emptiness exist simultaneously. I find it worthy of analysis and exploration.

mages in this series are captured digitally using only ambient light found along the perimeters of each man’s home. I try not to alter the environment in any way, just utilize it as it exists, much like the subjects themselves.

Tom M. Johnson

I recently received this e-mail from my friend Tom M. Johnson:

If you happen to find yourself in Paris next month I invite you to My Private Art Room in the Marais for a glass of champagne. I am having a solo show where I will be exhibiting work from both “Lakewood: Portraits of a Sacred American Suburb” and “Au Bout de la Ligne (At the End of the Line).” As written on the invitation, it is truly a photographic journey into contemporary suburban life. Besides, Paris is beautiful in October.

All I can say is, “Wow, I wish I could”. Tom is no stranger to Paris, having worked in the city of lights in his earlier incarnation as a model, but he already had a camera in hand and created a terrific project on what he found at the end of the Paris metro lines…all 29 of them. When he returned to the states, and to his hometown of Lakewood, CA, he began to see small town life in a new way, and has captured it brilliantly through portraiture and place. It was recently featured on the NY Times Lens blog.

His exhibit of these two bodies of work opens at My Private Art Room in Paris on October 13th and runs through October 30th.

Au bout de la ligne
It was living in Paris in the eighties that inspired me to become a photographer, however, it wasn’t until I returned twenty years later that I was roused to photograph the city that had taught me so much about life and art. Yet, I wanted to avoid taking just another of the tens of thousands of photographs that had already been taken of Paris. I mulled over this for weeks, trying to conceptualize a new technique or method of approach to the project, until one early morning, after a long dinner party sitting on a train in the direction of La Defense, the northwest terminus of line number 1, the inspiration emerged. I had ridden the metro throughout Paris, yet I had always traveled in the direction of, but never to, Au Bout de la Ligne. I asked myself–What type of Paris exists at the end of each line? Do the lines end in the suburbs (banlieue)? Are the people who live in the banlieue dissimilar to those who live in the center of Paris? I took the metro to all 29 ends of the 14 metro lines in search of provocative moments, visuals, portraits, and answers to my questions.

Bobigny Terminus Picasso

Châtillon Un Couple

Créteil Un Batiment

La Defense Des Voitures et Grand Batiments

Mairie de Lilas Un Joint

Mairie des Lilas Un Mur

Mairied Ivry Des Couleurs et Feuilles

Nation La Manège

Pont de Levallois Un Biere

Porte de la Chapelle Un Champ

Lakewood: A Photographic Journal of a Sacred American Suburb: I search for provocative portraits and relics of Lakewood’s middle class. I come upon kids riding their bikes whose parents are watchful of strangers but not threatened by them, women tending their yards, and men tinkering inside their garages. I interact with these folks, many whom I share similar concerns and interests. They question why I am taking pictures or if I work for a newspaper. When I tell them my pursuit is only artistic many shake their heads. But for every one who is uncomfortable with my presence, there are those who welcome me to photograph them and their front yards.

Images from Lakewood