Jack D. Teemer (1948–1992) photographed working-class neighborhoods in cities like Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, and Dayton, often focusing on residential backyards. This intimate approach affords the viewer insight to various societal factors such as economic conditions and zoning, as well as revealing how individuals in dense neighborhoods shape their own private spaces through landscaping and decoration.
In the early 1980s, Teemer joined an expanding group of practitioners who embraced color photography, and challenged the notion that it was somehow subservient to black-and-white photography. His work was presented alongside several preeminent color photographers such as Joel Meyerowitz, Stephen Shore, and William Eggleston in the important survey, American Independents: Eighteen Color Photographers (Eauclaire, Abbeville, 1987).
Two decades later, after Teemer’s death, it was featured in, Where We Live: Photographs from the Berman Collection (Getty Trust Publications, 2006). This group exhibition and subsequent book placed Teemer’s work within a meaningful dialog with other photographers who have described aspects of the American social landscape.