Absecon Blvd. runs into Atlantic City from the North across a large tidal wetland. It is a secondary route into the city for people who do not want to pay the toll charges on the Atlantic City expressway. The billboards along Absecon Blvd. advertisd the possibilities for food, lodging, entertainment, recreation and gambling available just up the road. Now many of the billboards are empty or in the process of being decommissioned. Stripped of their advertising panels, these billboards appear as sculptural wooden forms standing in stark contrast to the open tidal wetland. The unique wooden framework reflects a specific advertising artform.
Tom’s early inspiration was found in the work of German objective photographers Albert Renger Patsch and Bernd & Hilla Becher. His early obsession with these masters led to him taking on a vaguely Bavarian accent, wearing lederhosen, drinking large quantities of Düsseldorf Altbier and travelling around in a VW microbus strewn with film plates, a view camera and empty Reisling bottles. His earliest attempts at capturing the essence of ‘Neue Sachlichkeit’ was expressed in a single minded pursuit of water tower photography. What started out as a well-intentioned undertaking almost resulted in arrest when the police were called to investigate a report of what appeared to be an Oktoberfest reveller who was scaling a large metal water tower in Kenmore, New York. Tom has since dropped his European stylistic trappings, cut back on reisling consumption and refocused his view on other constructs and remnants of modern post-industrial society.
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