What I Did During the Great Recession

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Jonathan Blaustein is an artist, writer, and educator based in Taos, New Mexico. He studied Economics and History at Duke University, before receiving an MFA in Photography from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Jonathan has exhibited his work widely in the US, and his photographs reside in several important collections, including the Library of Congress, the State of New Mexico, the Brooklyn Museum, MOPA, the UNM Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the New Mexico Museum of Art.

Jonathan has taught photography for almost a decade, and also writes for the New York Times and A Photo Editor, an influential blog for the global photography industry. Look for his Friday column at

I made these pictures during the Great Recession.
It's where I put my time, as my studio business diminished.
I started shooting "The Value of a Dollar" in the Spring of 2008, half a year before the straight up melt down. I realized I couldn't afford blueberries.
So I went shopping for food here in New Mexico, measured out one dollar's worth of different things, and photographed the results on my studio table.
"MINE" was made in 2011, as I used my own natural resources, from my own land. The trees and rocks and snow and animals became "free" source material for still lives and sculptures in the studio. It was exhibited in 2012 with the support of NM Arts.