Photographer John Sanderson, born 1983 in New York City, is drawn to the topographically broad subject matter of the United States. His images establish a counterpoint between the documentary and poetic. Exploring the landscape in order to illustrate historic and contemporary motifs, Sanderson reveals a condensed history of the rapidly suburbanized and de industrialized social geography unique to the United States.

Picturing America is to unfurl a tapestry of exceptionalism — not the deifying “City upon the Hill” exceptionalism, but a genuine, vestigial kind. As highways began replacing railroad lines in the 1950s, a restructuring of physical and social space began, suburbs rose and cities suffered. What remains is an illustrative tracery, rich in its ability to evince collective values and shared history. 

The author sets out to form a counterpoint between two picture types. The first is a document of place, a description of subject interpreted through weather and light. The second are environmental portraits, where a connection between subject and environment render an internal dialogue. He strive for a balance between his own emotional attachment to an image and its relation to America’s story.