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American Studies Hardcover – May 31, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: powerHouse Books (May 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576875652
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576875650
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 11 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #681,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Here’s some fresh inspiration for that road trip you’ve been meaning to take.”                        
The New Yorker
, Photo Booth

About the Author

Jim Dow studied graphic design and photography at the Rhode Island School of Design during the 1960s. From that time forward he has been the recipient of numerous commissions, fellowships, and grants that have allowed him to travel and photograph as well as exhibit and publish extensively. His subjects include folk art, roadside architecture, signs, county courthouses, baseball parks, soccer stadiums, private clubs, barbeque joints, and taco trucks. He is fascinated by the way people leave their mark on both the rural and urban landscape and seeks to preserve this through photography.He lives in Boston and teaches at Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on June 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An impressive book with 115 photos of American commonplace which Jim Dow took over the last forty years. I have his previous book: Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota (Center for American Places - Center Books on American Places), which I thought was a beautiful photographic overview of North Dakota and this latest one doesn't disappoint.

The photos of what can be seen off the Interstate are comparable to the work of Stephen Shore, Jeff Brouws, Michael Eastman and David Graham. Dow, like them, focuses on the everyday to be seen in cities and small towns across the country though he, nicely, covers the interiors of restaurants, barber shops, stores and bars as well. Some of the detail in these interiors really pulls you into the frame. I thought this was a strong point of his North Dakota book.

Because the photos stretch over a number of years the first twenty-eight are mono then on page forty-two a mono photo of a billiard parlor, from 1977, is repeated on the opposite page but in color. The remaining pages are all color. Most of the shots are straight on because the compositions offer enough detail and don't need any extra visual input with unnecessary photo techniques. The only weak photos, in my view, are the nineteen close-ups of hand painted signs on the walls of buildings, they look crudely amateurish and perhaps would have looked best four to a page rather than the large, one to a page.

This is an impressively big book in the classic photo book style with nearly all the images large and one to a page, generous margins and printed on matt art paper with a 175 screen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Johnson on December 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful book. I can think of few photographers I'd rather have take me on any journey, much less an expansive, intimate and enlightening look at roadside America. Dow's America is a landscape filled with the places we, of the now celebrated 99%, call precious. Namely the local coffee shops & burger joints, pool halls, neighborhood taverns, honky tonks, Main and side streets. Like Edward Hopper, Dow captures the essence of these places just before closing time. Dow's vision of America has every bit as much resonance as that of the work of fellow lensmen and women such as Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, Dorthea Lange, Bernice Abbot, and Paul Strand. It is a place, at once familiar, but upon further examination, strikingly breathtaking as revealed to us in all it's stark beauty and intricate detail. Dow has more than staked his claim to a place in America's photographic pantheon with this majestic book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ELH on July 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book arrived as described, new with a minor ding on the spine. I always enjoy the work of Jim Dow
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