Jack Spencer was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, a land that has found its way into many of his photographs. The precisely crafted prints poignantly tell the story of the rural life in the American South. “I believe that all art work is portraiture and, in its most pristine and honest form, I believe it is self-portraiture. This is true not only in the photographic arts but also in music, literature, painting or sculpture. It is also true if you are building a house or simply mowing the lawn. The person creating is always reflected in the effect of the final creation. Cause and effect is the law of art…the rule that can never be broken. If one intends with the honesty of self-expression, then the result will be worth looking at, no matter how primitive or how sophisticated the means of accomplishment.”
Spencer is perhaps best known for his series Native Soul that features deep sepia tones combined with deep-South imagery: the humid bayou country, horses, and the everyday man of the Mississippi River Delta. In 1999, they became the subject of his first book also entitled “Native Soil.” “That series was about my past and my changed perceptions about my past… I forced myself to interact with people and cultures that I had always known about but never really knew, only to find that I had missed a great deal,” says Jack Spencer.
His most recent series through the Low Country suggests an introspective, allegorical dimension of foliage, water, and sea. His images, often blurred and slightly manipulated-are very distinct from any other body of work about the Carolina Low Country. The slightly out-of-focus quality of his photographs is achieved by skillful manipulation of the printing process in the dark room, when the negative is projected through transparent materials, thus distorting the light. The prints are then varnished with subtle tones of earth-yellow or earth-red pigments.
Jack Spencer was born in Mississippi and currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee. Jack is a self-taught photographer who attended Louisiana Tech University. His work is in many collections including: The Houston Museum of Fine Art, Berkley Museum of Art, and Sir Elton John’s Photography Collection and he is represented by leading contemporary photography galleries throughout the United States. LSU Press published his book, Native Soil, in 1999. Jack Spencer’s photographs have been widely exhibited throughout the country and are featured in many museum and corporate collections in the United States and abroad. He now lives and works in Nashville, Tennessee.