Jim Dow. Coca-Cola Sign on Highway, US 78, Burnsville, Mississippi, 1978. Archival digital pigment print.
b. 1942, Boston, Massachusetts
Jim Dow’s America is a land we both know and don’t know. His photographs show a country always reinventing itself,discarding and preserving elements of its past, almost as though by accident.These places, often built by ordinary Americans for the most ordinary of purposes, share inventiveness with commonality, resilience with restlessness,and grace with roughness. Dow sees a landscape shaped by human life.
His photographs take us ever closer to the human instinct to make and leave a mark:signs, barbershops, diners, churches, motels, billboards, libraries, pool halls, roadside stands, war memorials, office buildings, ballparks, metal buildings, wooden structures, amusement parks, general stores, courthouses,shrines, clubs, interiors, exteriors – pieces of a world primarily made by and for men whose lives took shape in the United States before the Second World War and whose marks on our country are at once indelible and changing.
from the Introduction to American Studies by Ian Frazier, 2011