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50 Main Street: The Face of America Hardcover – July 4, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 22 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


“This is a wonderful documentary portrait, a personal cross section of the country in a post-industrial, complicated moment in time.”
—Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker (The Civil War, Baseball, Prohibition)

“You want authentic? Look at the guy on the cover. He’s the real deal, just like everyone else in 50 Main Street. This book matters. Not because it’ll make you smile, and not because it’s filled with pretty pictures. It matters because it’s authentic. 50 Main Street is a genuine tribute to strangers you’ve always known, and old friends you’ve never met. It’s a journey back home, no matter where you come from, or what your address might be.”
—Mike Rowe, Dirty Jobs

“As a lover of people, places and pictures, I get a wonderful, warm feeling looking at this book and it was fun seeing my name mentioned in it.”
—Dolly Parton

“This book shows that the success of one man’s dream is a reason for us all to dream.”
—John Mellencamp

“This work is not a style manifesto, it is not radical in brand new photographic strategies . . . it does not have to be…as it follow she path of deep experience within all of human history . . . the experience of deep optimism and kindness. Each picture rests in the belly of the soul of generosity . . . in doing so they give one a view of America which has been diminished and needs to be revisited . . . Piero is a visualist of profound moral worth. His pictures allow one to hope and smile . . .”
—Larry Fink, photographer

50 Main Street is an epic achievement. It gives me a real sense of who we are in this country, as individuals and as a whole. Whether we are from the East, the West or the heart of America we are all different yet similar. I really appreciate the sense of commonality and community expressed in this book.”
—Wayne Wang, film director (The Joy Luck Club, Smoke, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan)

50 Main Street is a big, wide-open window into the heart and soul of America. Insightful, gorgeous, and deeply moving.”
—Larry Samuel, author of The American Dream: A Cultural History

For his ambitious and uplifting book of photos, Ribelli (Jah Pickney: Children of Jamaica), an Italian émigré, embarked on a six-year mission “to fight discord,” argues historian Douglas Brinkley in his foreword. Visiting 50 towns in 50 states, and one address—50 Main Street—he tells the stories of 50 Americans and their families. In California, George Sylva escapes a violent childhood in East L.A., joins the Navy as a combat cameraman, then builds a career in Hollywood before opening a boxing gym, where he helps teens troubled by gang violence. In Westfield, Mass., a doctor, Angel Morales, one of nine children sent to orphanages after his mother’s illness, becomes the first person in his family to go to college. Pearl Harbor has no such address (it was destroyed in the 1941 attack), so Ribelli meets Robin Tupa at her office at 174 Main St.—the lowest of the remaining addresses. Ribelli’s subjects are posed at home, work, and play, and he includes many supplementary photos to capture the essence of a place, usually with success, such as his shot of a nearly empty Jersey Shore. Some photos approach postcard cliché, though, such as a misty shot of the Oregon coastline. Ribelli’s experiences and perceptions are interwoven with his written profiles, and while at times distracting, they reveal an enthusiastic storyteller.
Publishers Weekly

About the Author

At age 27, Piero Ribelli left Italy, moved to the United States, taught himself English, and started a new life as a professional photographer. Ranging from travel, portraiture and photojournalism, his photographs have appeared in magazines around the world He lives in New York City. Douglas Brinkley lives in Austin, TX. Mike Rowe lives in San Francisco.

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