The name “Jack London” is one which brings to mind one of the most widely-read writers in America; a man who as over 50 books in his repertoire, including Call of the Wild and The Sea Wolf and a wide array of other American classics. However, some people might also know him as an adventurer and social activist.
However, even fewer people have come to recognize Jack London as a phenomenal photographer who has produced well over 10,000 awesome and inspiring photographs over the course of his lifetime, ranging from the poignant images of the poor and desperate who live in London’s East End; images of the Russo-Japanese War, which he took while he was on a humanitarian assignment for the Hearst Syndicate; graphic and highly sensitive images of the South Seas islanders which were taken while he was on a voyage aboard the Snark as well as pictures of the mass devastation that was caused by the earthquake that rocked San Francisco in 1906.
White Chapel on a bank Holiday, London, 1902
Men spending the night outdoors on the Thames embankment, London, 1902
Homeless women sleeping in Spitalfields Garden, London, 1902
Salvation Army barracks in London during Sunday morning rush – men who had been given tickets during the night queuing for free breakfast, 1902
Through his photographs, Jack has been able to show the world that he is an excellent perceiver and a man with a compassionate and loving heart as well as a respecter and lover of humans in general. A vast majority of his photographs were left unpublished until 2010 when Jack London Photographer was published by authors Jeanne Campbell Reesman, Sara S. Hodson and Philip Adam with 200 images.
London was born and raised during the very first era that was truly ruled by the mass media. This was a time when photographic images completely revolutionized the way that the news was covered and how information was disseminated. He had an eye for discerning things and with that, he was able to perfectly and accurately record significant moments in the history f the world through the eyes of the people who experienced them. This was an effective ability that helped him to create memorable portraits of individuals who shared a common humanity; a humanity that held much more significance than the cultural differences that the had.
Jack London detained by Japanese officials in Korea, 1904
Assessing the damage in Santa Rosa, California, 1906
The devastation caused by the San Francisco earthquake on Kearny Street, 1906
Buildings damaged by the San Francisco earthquake, 1906
The ruins after the San Francisco earthquake, 1906