When you switch journalism beats, you can usually torch your Rolodex. It’s rare that your sources will carry over en masse from, say, the cops beat to the sports desk.
Bill Jackson is the one of the few artists who was also a regular source for me when I was a news reporter back in the day, covering county government for the San Mateo Times. He was the county’s elections manager then and is a fine-art photographer now. When I jumped ship for the arts editor’s desk, he got in touch again.
Instead of chatting about precinct results, we’ve talked about his pleasantly eerie photography, which has been seen quite a bit around town in recent years. Jackson is a member of the Palo Alto Camera Club and is represented by the Paolo Mejia Gallery in the city.
At the moment, he also has a solo show up at Philz Coffee in Palo Alto’s Midtown neighborhood. Jackson usually likes to photograph people; here he’s found inspiration in the rings and cracks of fallen trees.
His “Timber” series came from “cut and fallen trees from California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, modified in post-processing to create something different from the original,” as he puts it. The series is a blaze of color: atomic reds, deep blues, powerful oranges. I like to imagine some logger knocking down a tree and jumping back appalled, seeing all this wonder inside.