These images of recreational vehicles lodged deeply in night jungles suggest a humanity isolated from a dark and ominous nature. They crouch like steel insects in the woods, shining, hard carapaces protecting a soft interior. They are Rousseau’s animals recast for a mechanical age, glowing windows and screens in place of the penetrating stare of watchful creatures. They brand themselves with labels asserting a desired yet ironically thwarted relationship with nature: Escaper, Conquest, Sunset Trail, Wilderness, Cougar, Falcon.
Together they reveal a sense of displacement and alienation from the natural world. The occupants of these pods are hermetically sealed from the natural world looming just beyond.
The overtly voyeuristic creepiness of these pictures also evokes other topics: withdrawal from public space and engagement in American life, the obsessions of survivalists and the dominance over nature. In this sense, these RV’s resemble the ultimate gated community…i.e., no community. Nothing is more American than an RV, but these pictures suggest other impulses underlying the sheen of the American dream: flight, concealment, isolation, bewilderment and withdrawal. The RV’s sing the night song of the American dream, all the while spilling a toxic light into the jungle.
These photographs are overtly theatrical; the foliage surrounding the vehicles resembles scenery props. The images are intended to look staged, almost dreamlike, half-way between fantasy and reality. While it may seem they share the current wave of interest in the theatrical and constructed, they are not staged. They are the product of months of travel in Florida using handheld lights and a tripod to capture the images. The occupants never know I’m there; their televisions are on and their blinds are drawn.
Frank Hallam Day is a fine art photographer in Washington, D.C. He has taught photography at the Smithsonian Institution and in other local programs. His work is in numerous museum and private collections in the United States and abroad, including the State Museum of Berlin, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Portland Art Museum, the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. His artistic interests revolve around the themes of culture and history, and humanity’s footprint on the natural world. Recent projects include the erasure of personal and cultural memory in East Berlin, and on the impact of globalization on African identity. He was a winner of the prestigious Leica Oskar Barnack Prize in 2012 and the Bader Prize in 2006, and was a finalist both for the Sondheim Prize in 2007, the Sony Prize in 2010, the Voies Off Prize at Arles in 2010, and has received several grants from the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He was Artist in Residence at Acadia National Park in 2007, and was U.S. Cultural Envoy to Ethiopia in 2008. He has juried and curated numerous photography shows and competitions in the Washington area. He also writes on photography for Photo Review.
All images are available as 24 x 36" and 44 x 66" pigment prints made in editions of 15 and 7, respectively. Pieces range in price from $2800 to $5200, depending on the size and availability.
Please call: (312) 266-2350 for prices of specific pieces. Prices are print only unless otherwise indicated.