Archive for the 'seeing flags' Category

The End


One year ago, I embarked on a mission. In order to document and call attention to the prevalence of patriotic imagery on the American landscape; I decided to photograph one new use of the flag, everyday, for one year. Now, 366 (I bet you forgot it was a leap year) flags later I am finished. The point has been made; in 2008 flag imagery is everywhere. It is common to see a person in a flag t-shirt or see the flag image decorating a mailbox or used on the packaging for cigarettes or any product you can think of.

All the uses I have photographed are blatantly against the U.S. Flag code (click here to check it out, great site)  yet it is considered acceptable and even patriotic to stick a plastic flag in your yard or don a flag shirt. However, some uses of the flag will get you arrested like hanging it upside down to protest the war in Iraq. And burning the flag is out of the question. Why does burning the flag incite people to violence while using it on a disposible garbage bag does not? Both are against the flag code.

To me the over usage feels like propaganda. It seeps in through your skin when you are not paying attention, subliminally creating a sense of nationalism.

Thanks for coming along on my journey! It has been an interesting year!


FLAG A DAY is going to be included in a show, sponsored by CREATIVE TIME that promises to be really exciting. DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA: THE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN will be at the Park Avenue Armory (643 Park avenue between 66th and 67th streets) in NYC from Sept. 21 – 27.


Seeing Flags 7


When I first started this project my Mom and Dad in Minnesota conveyed that they thought New Jerseyians quite odd. They said, “People around here don’t decorate their mailboxes with flags.” But the more they saw my photos the more they started noticing flags in their environment. And then after a couple of weeks they responded with this prime example of a Swedish Dala horse with a flag around its neck in their small rural town. Ah Ha, I thought it is everywhere and that is the point of all this. We are surrounded and bombarded with American flags whose usage goes against everything written in the flag code. What does this bombardment mean? Is it merely consumerism on a rampage? Does anything sell if it has a flag on it? Do Americans feel that they are not patriotic if they don’t stick a flag on everything they own? Is it a mind numbing form of seduction that keeps us tied to the policies of the powerful?

Seeing Flags 4, 5,6

More flags from viewers like you…first we have Amy Papaelias at the Phillies game who couldn’t help but notice the giant electronic flag.

Russ in LA sends this example of someone decorating their Internet site with a flag and Greg in CA caught this couple with his cell phone camera while dining out with his wife.


Seeing Flags 3

Professor Christopher Harris from the University of Arizona sent this stellar example of propaganda. He says” After visiting your Flag a Day site, I was inspired to send you this photo from the American southwest. This picture has everything–from clear channel, to junk for Jesus, to a misapplication of a bible verse, to troops praying against a backdrop of the American flag. The only thing missing is an apple pie.”

Seeing Flags 2

This was sent by Kimber Leigh Nussbaum. She had the “grand old toe” pedicure done for the 4th of July. Kimber is the studio manager for Dave Jordano Photography in Chicago. Dave is a fantastic commercial photographer with a very broad range of successful work. I particularly love his work under the personal section of his website.

Seeing Flags

Every time I am driving in the car with my daughter Rose she starts yelling, “Stop quick mom! You will never believe this flag.”

I have mixed feelings about dragging her into my obsession, on one hand I am glad that she is alert, comprehending, and questioning but on the other hand I wish she could go on being a kid, not having to think so hard and question every image that is placed in front of her. But perhaps that is the problem we have all gone on, way too long, mindless, not questioning or speaking up about misleading information that has been placed in front of us.

Many people have started writing to me, telling they are seeing flags and patriotic imagery they never noticed before. Others are sending me images they have captured along the way. Here is one from Brian Butler. Brian is a senior at Massachusetts College of Art who, along with his friend Colby, has undertaken “Mini-Golf Across Massachusetts” a project archiving every mini-golf establishment across the commonwealth.>