Photographic Notes on the Road: J. B. Jackson, 1955-1989

Photographic Notes on the Road: J. B. Jackson, 1955-1989

From 1955, the year of his oldest slides preserved at the University of New Mexico, to 1989, the year of his most recent ones, J. B. Jackson was on the road documenting ordinary landscapes – his life-long investigation. He traveled the Southwest, California and New England, crossed the Midwest and Great Plains repeatedly, and drove into both the Old and the Deep South. Nearly every trip during these years found him taking photographs that encapsulated his experiences, stopping by the roadside, setting off again.

His photographs and written notes suggests that Jackson’s field research was produced through recurring journeys across the United States. In addition to his copious annotated slides, one unique surviving road diary that Jackson kept in January and February of 1957, during his travel between the states of New York and Louisiana, documents his manner of traveling and observing landscapes.

In parallel with his pioneering interpretations of ordinary, vernacular habitations, Jackson also laid the groundwork for an odology of the United States. This was a “science of the roads” along which he personally traveled, considering and probing the everyday life he encountered. This is the context of the sixty-eight photographs and of the field notes exhibited here. Two of Jackson’s drawings, two annotated slide mounts, maps recreating his apparent travel routes, as well as two excerpts from his writings provide further context for this body of work.

Jordi Ballesta, Curator


DEC56 n.18

FEB74 P15 Small Town Meers Okla

J. B. Jackson's Photographs, (c) The University of New Mexico, Curated by Jordi Ballesta

MAY75 n.14 Housing ... Birmingham ... Town 19 ...

Dec65 H n.24 Domestic Architecture 1920 1940 Negro Street Miss Black Street Miss

JAN71 P4 n.9 Rural Dispersal Small Town Leaf Burning

JUN70 H2 n.17 Migrant Labor Agri Migrant Labor

SEP80 n.9

OCT31 1978 Uranium Country Mas Housing Crown Point NM

MAY76 H3 n.4 Warehouse NM

JUN70 H2 n.14 Shelterbelt Shelterbelt Streets

MAY75 n.19 Near Post Texas

MAY74 D8 n.5 Small Town

SEP71 N3 n.5 Country Roads

JAN77 P1 n.28 Barn Apache Res Ariz

MAY74 D8 Round Barn Illinois

MAY74 D8 n.8 Farmstead Kansas

MAY75 n.38 South

MAY74 Farmstead Kan

SEP76 R Info Sign

JUN76 H5 n.10 Small Town JBJ had this in Lawn

Street Amsterdam NY

OCT 69 n.4 Interstate Mass Fast Flow Highway Signs

FEB71 P4 n.5 Highway Sign Car

J. B. Jackson's Photographs, (c) The University of New Mexico, Curated by Jordi Ballesta

MAY80 D4 n.5

J. B. Jackson's Photographs, (c) The University of New Mexico, Curated by Jordi Ballesta

MAY76 n.29 Ceremony Sayne Okla

FEB71 P7 n.1 Skid Row Marysville Cal

J. B. Jackson's Photographs, (c) The University of New Mexico, Curated by Jordi Ballesta


OCT71 P7 n.37 Rowhouses Betheleem PA

Old Row House Concept Milwaukee Late 1800s Trivanti

FEB71 P4 n.16 Skid Row San Jose

FEB71 P4 n.15 Skid Row San Jose

MAY77 D8 n.11 Skid Row Street Okla

JAN75 P15 Camp Meeting

JAN73 P2 n.7 Pop Art San Leandro

MAR71 P6 n.36 Pop Art Vallejo

APR73 H3 n.6 Strip

JUL71 H4 n.7

J. B. Jackson's Photographs, (c) The University of New Mexico, Curated by Jordi Ballesta

MAR70 P2 n.14 Truck Truckstop Sacramento

Scenery NM Southwestern

MAY75 n.10 Pastures S NM

n.17 Highway Signs (N.M) Place Sign Handmade Sign

AUG72 H6 n.9

JAN76 P2 n.28

APR... H17 n.8 Roadside Restaurant

Truck Stop

JAN75 P7 n.21 Strip

SEP79 D7 n.22 Poverty Decay Parking Lots

FEB71 P7 n.16 Beach Dillon Beach

MAR70 P5 n.19 Country Road Ferry Cal

MAY76 H3 n.4 Road Ark

JAN86 D4 n.33

JAN86 D4 n.29


JAN71 N18 Motel 1930s

AUG73 D9 n.16 Trailers

OCT31 1978 Uranium Country Trailers

MAY76 H3 n.7 Trailers NM



Categories: Uncategorized

Gianna May Sanchez

PhD student at the University of Michigan History Department studying (folk)medicine and healthcare in the 20th century U.S. West, primarily focusing on history of medicine as it relates to gender, reproduction, and Latinx communities. I am a museum and digital humanities contractor and have done work for the Smithsonian Latino Center and National Park Service. Follow me @MayPlaysGames on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s