About the Photographer
American, b. 1968
In his series, A New American Picture, Doug Rickard captures street scenes from some of the United States’ most impoverished neighborhoods in images he appropriated from Google Street View. The project updates the longstanding photographic tradition of social documentary, whereby the artist visits and photographs poor communities; only, in Rickard’s case, technology does the legwork. Shot from a computer screen, his pictures of the low-res street images disclose the imperfect process of using the Internet to access certain information about a chosen demographic, while also revealing his own perspective as a distant observer. Rickard hints that with so much virtual information accessible at our fingertips, the significance of firsthand experience is changing, and today pictures deeply influence much of what we personally understand about the world outside of our direct experience. Like social documentary photographs, Rickard’s images are visually dynamic and imply narrative, but his unique process throws into question the very notion that pictures can offer a truthful or objective view of the lives and circumstances of others.
Doug Rickard was born in San Jose, California, in 1968, and studied History and Sociology at UC San Diego, completing his BA in 1994. He is the founder of American Suburb X and These Americans, websites on contemporary photography with a focus on American historical and cultural archives. Photographs from A New American Picture were included in the New Photography 2011 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. White Press/Schaden published a limited edition monograph of A New American Picture in 2010. The trade edition was released in September 2012, co-published by Aperture Foundation, New York and Koenig Books, London. He currently lives and works in Northern California.