America Recovered: About


In late 2009 the Obama administration advocated for an unprecedented level of transparency in the disbursement of stimulus spending as provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. ARRA Section 1519 requires the “Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board… to establish and maintain a user-friendly, public-facing website to foster greater accountability and transparency in the use of covered funds.”

To this end the Administration established as a resource by which the public might track expenditures. I have used the text publicized on – and related local government websites – as my guide for what to photograph. The language accompanying the images has been transcribed verbatim from the original sources.

In choosing subjects, I have considered many parameters including but not limited to: perceived aesthetic opportunity, my initial response to the content of the language, and my desire to create a representative sampling of the broader stimulus efforts. While approaching this highly politicized information, I have attempted to disregard my own ideology.

The conceptual framework of this project is to reveal the point where abstract political processes manifest themselves in the physical world, thus providing an alternate means of experiencing the contemporary American landscape. Collectively the images show what aspects of our everyday lives are being assigned value in the promise of a recovered America. 

Forthcoming Book


America Recovered,  photographs of economic stimulus by Chad Ress with essays by Jordan H. Carver and Miriam Paeslack.

Forthcoming from Actar. Expected release Spring, 2018.




Peter Reyner Banham Fellowship Symposium "The Aesthetics of Citizenship", Jordan Carver, Organizer + Fellow, Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, 2015

Harper’s Magazine “Portfolio: The Invisible Stimulus”, Text by Ian Volner, Photographs by Chad Ress, November 2012

Time Magazine Lightbox “Chad Ress – America Recovered”, Andrew Hinderaker, June 2011

Wall Street Journal Ideas Market “Show Me the (Stimulus) Money”, Rebecca Horne, April 2011


All images copyright © Chad Ress 2018