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America's Idea of a Good Time Paperback – May 15, 2001

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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About the Author

Kate Schermerhorn was born in New York in 1966 and raised in Malibu, California. She studies photography with Joel Sternfeld at Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has been exhibited at The Victoria and Albert Museum's Canon Photography Gallery and Tom Blau Gallery (London), The Royal Photograhic Society (Bath), Galerie Thierry Marlat (Paris), Fifty One Fine Art (Antwerp).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Dewi Lewis Publishing; First Edition edition (May 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1899235485
  • ISBN-13: 978-1899235483
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,762,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Over the past two years, in a personal examination of America's resolute
pursuance of the happiness to which it feels constitutionally entitled, Kate
Schermerhorn has photographed nearly a hundred parades and pageants across
the breadth of the continental USA. Her camera however never quite gets
around to recording glory of the spectacle, choosing instead to reach beyond
the razzmatazz and settle into the dust of the surrounding minutiae which
inform the structure of the whole. Intangibles such as concentration form a
fundamental part of the events: in Pasadena for example we find a perfectly
made up, high heeled, suspender and stocking clad gentleman applying the
final adjustments to his face paint before taking part in a parade. Lace
seems significant to a Hollywood Halloween party while a poodle in a pet
pouch across its owner's chest seems glued to a Washington tricycle race.
Taking the whole thing seriously is very much an issue here: there is a
commitment in the participants which is appreciated by the spectators. In
Phoenix Arizona for example spectators have brought living room furniture
out into their driveway and comfortably settled in to watch a parade: a
notion of communal spirit, both national and local flows throughout the
book. The High School Band rehearses in the back yard, while in Beaux Bridge
Louisiana a uniformly striped couple step seriously out for the annual
crawfish festival. The book opens with an image of Mount Rushmore, avoiding
the splendour and simply allowing the head of George Washington to break the
bottom of the frame.
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Format: Paperback
Kate Schermerhorn has given us an affectionate look at Americans at play, in all their nutty glory. She highlights her subjects' quirkiness, to be sure, but never harshly. Her engaging, clever photographs convey a deliciously droll take on what it means to have fun - and what it looks like to watch others having it -- in today's America.
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