Shards of America

“A shard is a fragment of broken pottery, often used by archaeologists to reconstruct objects from past civilizations. In Shards of America, Canadian photographer Phil Bergerson has gathered a richly detailed collection of over one hundred images from neglected corners of American’s towns and small cities, and created a fascinating mosaic.

Businesses, religious sects, and community groups announce their presence, offer their services, and pitch their messages, while commercial signs, graffiti, posters, and public notices blanket the surfaces of buildings and public spaces. From abandoned storefronts with remnants of decades-old advertisements, to present-day New York City newstands shouting their headlines over the noise, Bergerson’s outsider’s eye brings us up close to the tiny details of streets and roadsides that can be so easy to miss when you pass by them every day.

The minutiae of daily life—paintings and movie posters, dime-store novels and daily newspapers, figurines and mannequins, decals and stenciled graffiti—here are laid out as artifacts pointing to a bigger vision of the world as we know it. Patriotism, consumerism, censorship, nostalgia for a simpler past coupled with a desire for a less complicated present . . . touching on all these themes, Bergerson’s quietly ironic but empathetic tone encourages the reader to imagine how our own ordinary surroundings might appear in a hundred or more years’ time.”

David Harris