Photography: Jack Spencer
Jack Spencer (American, b.1951) is a respected photographer known for his portraits and manipulated images. Spencer was born in Kosiusko, MS, and studied at Louisiana Tech University. His early work was inspired by the southern United States. His first book, Native Soil, featured images of horses, trees, and the southern landscape. Snow Ponies is a manipulated photograph depicting two white horses on a white background. The piece is a glazed gelatin silver print and is a typical representation of his work. Spencer helped form the Lost Boys Foundation in Nashville in 2004. He was inspired by the story of Pel Gai, who was murdered in a nightclub in Nashville. Spencer helped raise the money to bury the poor immigrant and created a collection of photographs known as The Lost Boys.
The photos featured Sudan refugees and were not manipulated like his previous work. One of the pieces in the collection, King, features a young man standing with his back to the camera and gazing into the distance.
Spencer lost interest in the South and traveled to Mexico where he became interested in the Day of the Dead festivities. The resulting Apariciones collection will be included in his first digital publication. He returned to the United Stated and began working on This Land, which features monuments and landmarks of the United States.
During this time, Spencer said he was disgusted with his home country and politics. He altered his photographs in the dark room and almost attacked them. Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota is almost unrecognizable. Only one face from the monument is visible, and the entire photograph is darkened creating an eerie image.
His work has been shown at the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Columbia Museum of Art, and the Louisiana Center for Arts and Sciences. His photographs were also featured in the book The South by Its Photographers alongside the work of influential artists such as Shelby Lee Adams (American, b.1950) and William Christenberry (American, b.1936).
Spencer has begun experimenting with digital media and has largely abandoned the darkroom. He is planning DVD compilations of his work and continues to live and photograph in Nashville, TN.