Douglas Rickhard documents the quiet, deserted, anonymous, twilight-zone
areas of a neighborhood he refers to simply as "American Suburb".
These places could be found in almost any suburban tract of a certain
age, anywhere across America. Rickhard's photographs capture what is quintessential:
A common style of mass-produced architecture, erected decades ago, that
gets altered (a little) over the years with attempts to make it look more
cheery or more personal or less-uniform. These quickly and cheaply constructed
cookie-cutter "communities", painted with changing colors over
the years, are surrounded by flat grass lawns, low-maintenance ground
cover, generic shrubs and bushes.
These are not vibrant neighborhoods; there is barely a sign of human life here, except for a gap in some window blinds where someone might be looking out. It is not difficult to imagine that the people who inhabit American Suburb prefer to sit or lie quietly inside, with the shades drawn, while they watch TV, or worry about their medicine, or wait for tomorrow's alarm clock to go off.
What Rickhard is able to do so well, is to find what is beautiful here
when the light is right. He waits for his moments, frames his scenes carefully,
and celebrates the quirky shapes, the unlikely pairings of colors, the
lonely stubble of lawnmower clippings clinging to the fading painted sidewalks.
He finds some humor here, and colors that are luscious, if only late at
night, or in the long shadows of a setting sun. He makes us smile at the
sad irony when we see the yellow glass facade and tacky stick-on letter
sign at the entrance to Royal Palms Apts. And he makes us wonder where
all the people are, and why.
There's lots more to discover on Douglas Rickhard's web
site, as well.
— Jim Casper