Phil Bergerson’s Shards of America

Phil Bergerson’s book Shards of America explores the culture of the United States through an investigation of its streets. In twenty years of road trips across America, Bergerson photographed window displays, everyday objects and street scenes in a formalistic, documentary style. The resulting book is a unique look at the things that make up American society. TIME spoke with Bergerson as he is working on his second book, Sublime Encounters, to discuss his process and inspiration.

Although he is from Canada, Bergerson was drawn to photographing America because “Americans seem to have no problem speaking what they think, at any time, and will actually put it out in public for all to see, and in my case, to photograph. I was really drawn to that American bravado because it allows you to see what’s underneath a lot of things that as Canadians we might be restraining ourselves from actually addressing. I think of myself as being the empathetic neighbor, viewing it as best as I can and perhaps giving some insight into it for others.”

By documenting the things that people are putting out in public, Bergerson’s photographs give the viewer insight into deeper, unintended meaning.

“I think of my photographs as messages,” Bergerson said. “People are trying to reach out and address something that’s personal to them or is disturbing them in some way. Sometimes they’re communicating without knowing what they’re communicating. Other times, they’re really direct and are addressing something political, or a social struggle that they’re going through. And I feel, about a lot of things that I’m photographing, that I’m sort of a conduit for people who are trying to communicate. And a number of times, it really works in a beautiful way.”

—Andrew Hinderaker

Phil Bergerson is represented by Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto. His first book, Shards of America, is available on Amazon. Bergerson is currently in the final stages of producing his next book, Sublime Encounters.

Related Topics: , , , , ,

Latest Posts

2014.  Gaza.  Palestine.  Schoolchildren head to class at the Sobhi Abu Karsh School in the Shujai'iya neighborhood. Operation Protective Edge lasted from 8 July 2014 – 26 August 2014, killing 2,189 Palestinians of which 1,486 are believed to be civilians. 66 Israeli soldiers and 6 civilians were killed.  It's estimated that 4,564 rockets were fired at Israel by Palestinian militants.

Inside Gaza with Photographer Peter van Agtmael

What photographer Peter van Agtmael encountered in Gaza changed the way he worked.

Read More
WASTELAND PERMITTED USE: This image may be downloaded or is otherwise provided at no charge for one-time use for coverage or promotion of National Geographic magazine dated December 2014 and exclusively in conjunction thereof.  No copying, distribution or archiving permitted.  Sublicensing, sale or resale is prohibited.     REQUIRED CREDIT AND CAPTION: All image uses must bear the copyright notice and be properly credited to the relevant photographer, as shown in this metadata, and must be accompanied by a caption, which makes reference to NGM.  Any uses in which the image appears without proper copyright notice, photographer credit and a caption referencing NGM are subject to paid licensing.        Mandatory usage requirements: (Please note: you may select 5 branded images for online use and 3 images for print/unbranded)1. Include mandatory photo credit with each image2. Show the December cover of National Geographic somewhere in the post (credit: National Geographic) unless using only one image3. Provide a prominent link to: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/12/superfund/voosen-textat the top of your piece, ahead of the photos 4. Mention that the images are from "the December issue of National Geographic magazine” GOWANUS CANALNew York, New YorkPollutants: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury, lead, copperYear listed: 2010Carved from a tidal estuary 160 years ago, the Gowanus Canal is Brooklyn’s industrial artery—and a deeply polluted waterway. Even so, it’s frequented by herons, seagulls, crabs, and canoeists. Defying local fears of economic stigma, the EPA listed the canal as a Superfund site in 2010. It hopes to start dredging contaminated mud in 2016.

Photojournalism Daily: Nov. 24, 2014

Mideast Israel Palestinians

The Best Pictures of the Week: Nov. 14 – Nov. 21

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,276 other followers