Sunday, August 15, 2010

Household Happiness: Jackson Prints

One of the reasons that I was so pleased to finish my upstairs hallway was so that I could once again hang up two of my favorite photographs.  I bought the prints, made by Tennessee artist Barry Jackson, when I was living in Nashville.  I came across his work at a summer craft show in Centennial Park and I loved them instantly.

Jackson lives near a plain-living community in central Tennessee and his long-term acquaintance with the families persuaded them to authorize the making of the photographs.  I love the way he's recorded scenes of people living their everyday lives in a way that isn't everyday for most of us. 

Jackson printed limited lots of the photographs; typically no more than 300 for each picture.  Mine all number in the first 100 of the series.  All together I have six of the prints, bought over the five years when I lived in Nashville in the early 1990s and saw Jackson's work at craft shows.  Each one was purchased on a graduate student's budget; for a while I didn't even have the money to frame them.   I love the prints both for the happy scenes they depict as much as the memories of Tennessee that they invoke.  For this positing, I've taken pictures of the prints I own but much better reproductions are available at Jackson's website.
The very first print that I purchased is the top photograph, six sisters sitting in a row on their front porch, braiding one another's hair.  The other photograph which hangs in my hallway (and my second Jackson purchase) shows the community's children in their schoolyard.  The yard is dusted with snow and while the girls are patiently lined up, the boys are doing their best to throw some snowballs. The little girl at the very front of the braiding line has a flower tucked in her toe and I know her to be named Mariyah.  That same little girl is sitting in her father's wheelbarrow in another photo; this one hangs in the powder room downstairs.
Mariyah is also the small little girl kneeling at the foot of the bed in this photograph, which also hangs in the powder room.
Two of her sisters sit in the doorway of their home in this print, which hangs in my bedroom.  The girls are looking at Jackson's initial developments of the photos he made of them. 
The final photograph in my collection hangs in the playroom stairwell.  It's a picture of children with their mothers, pausing in the woods so the children can jump on some mattresses left there. 
Though I'm not naive enough to believe that these photographs invoke a simpler time, for me they do invoke simple pleasures.  And when life is crazy it's very nice to pause and enjoy the happy charm of a little girl with a flower stuck between her toes.  We should all be so lucky.

1 comment:

Shark Butt said...

These are such great photos. I always enjoy seeing them.