Photographer, writer, and artist Jack St Jack was born into Appalachian poverty, which would have a profound influence on Jack's artistic expression. Struck with wanderlust and moved by a compulsion to experience everything possible, Jack fled his upbringing at 17 years of age and began a life of travel. He spent most of his early adulthood collecting stories, recollections, and experiences, seeking the infamous heart of America, the dream within a dream.
In 2010, Jack settled in the city he loved most of all: the City of Hearts, San Francisco. Disillusioned by the disparities of wealth in a greedy capitalist society, Jack began to lose his faith in humanity and despaired, falling back into the poverty that defined his youth. With stability seemingly off the table, and in an attempt to recapture his lost faith in humanity and pull himself back from the brink of suicide, Jack then began the photographic process that would come to later define his entire world.
"The best portraits are often an intersection between psychology and art; a portrait is not the gestalt, it is a spotlight on a facet seldom seen." - Jack
Homeless in San Francisco for over 8 years, living on a rooftop and struggling with a day business, Jack finally got into subsidized housing in 2018. Still far from the dream of acquiring a higher education or a way out of poverty, Jack continued to struggle with a life lived in senseless destitution. When the novel coronavirus emerged, Jack used the time for reflection and a tempering of prior goals, withdrawing from all photography for over a year.
Today, post-pandemic, Jack continues to document the world he knows, wary but still willing to confront the shadowy, gritty underside to the City by the Bay. With a true eye for detail and a knack for finding those fleeting moments that speak a universal language, Jack shows us what it is that makes us human, truly human, what it is to just be. Jack's work reveals the quiet dignity that we all strive for, regardless of sex, race, or socioeconomic status.
SF Grit - Selections of the Everyday Peoples of San Francisco
Paolo Mejia Gallery, San Francisco, June-July 2015
firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone: 415-846-3933
Tenderloin District, San Francisco, CA 94102