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The year when Jonathan Day was born, Robert Frank published his photo book The Americans. The book records the Swiss-American photographer’s two-year journey in a used old car through 48 states of the United States of America. Jack Kerouac said he “sucked a sad poem out of America onto film.” The was 1959.

The book ultimately became a classic, holding a secure place in the twentieth-century history of photography for changing the course of the art form. Half a century later, Jonathan Day from Birmingham, UK arrived in America. Tracing his predecessor’s path, he tried to puzzle together the remnants of the Beat Generation. In a rented car Day drove 30,000 miles of road towards the horizon, capturing those big cars, those crosses, those Stars and Stripes along the way. We can almost fell on our face the dust cloud kicked up in the air as Frank’s old used car drove past. Only that those signs and icons no longer point to the vain and arcane world of the 1950s, but to a new, contemporary chapter of The Americans, a dialogue across half a century.

The exhibition originates from the artist’s book of the same title.

About Jonathan Day

Black Country bred, the photographer/musician/transmedia arts academic is the product of three-hundred years of English Midlands’s industrialism. His father was a welder making parts for ships and factories; his mother was a young girl of 18 when he was born. His grandfather was a sailor who died near Trinidad in World War II. His great grandmother was the daughter of a displaced coal miner. Her second husband, his great grandfather, had been a horse trainer in a circus. She married him after he fed sandwiches to her starving children. She became a drunkard, ate grass from the garden, converted to Adventism after seeing the devil and gave away all her money. These experiences set the context for Jonathan’s work – they inform his interest in the landscape and the interaction people have with it and with each other. Currently Professor of Transmedia Arts at Birmingham City University, England, Secretary of the Birmingham Photography and Archive Research Group and Visiting Professor at IVE, Hong Kong, Silpakorn and Chulalongkorn Universities, Bangkok, Thailand and the Academy of Design Colombo, Sri Lanka. Author of the books The Politics of Navigation (2005), Robert Frank’s the Americans – the Art of Documentary Photography (2010) and Postcards from the Road (2014).

Opening Reception

18.04.2015 (Sat)   4 – 6 pm

Artist’s Talk

18.04.2015 (Sat)   3 – 4 pm