American Artifacts is a complex and poetic photographic portrait of America as it simmered its way through the first decade of the twenty-first century. It reflects that span of years some have called the "lost" decade. American Artifacts is a personal exploration by an empathetic neighbour-the Canadian documentary photographer Phil Bergerson (born Toronto, 1947).
Bergerson describes his photographic approach as sifting through the remains of a culture-sifting through the shards of artifacts left behind by a rushing humanity as it made its way through the streets of a tumultuous America. A variety of recurring themes are reected in photographs of shop window displays, and in the objects and signs from the forgotten corners of the hundreds of towns and cities he visited. The book's photographic sequence is bracketed by two powerful pieces of writing, beginning with bestselling author Margaret Atwood's brilliant writing on debt from Payback, and ending with critic Nathan Lyons' insightful essay on "Sequencing".
Phil Bergerson has photographed for over 30 years. His work has been exhibited internationally and is found in many prestigious collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. An accompanying exhibition, Phil Bergerson: Emblems and Remnants of the American Dream, runs at the Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, Canada, from 22 January-13 April 2014.