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Christopher Morris: My America Hardcover – July 1, 2006

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christopher Morris was born in California in 1958. Over the past 20 years he has concentrated the greater part of his work on war correspondence, having documented more than 18 foreign conflicts, including the U.S. invasion of Panama, the Persian Gulf War, the drug war in Columbia, and the wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Yugoslavia. In the last four years he has documented the presidency of George W. Bush for Time magazine. Morris has received numerous awards for his work, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal and Olivier Rebbot awards from the Overseas Press Club; the Magazine Photographer of the Year award from the University of Missouri School of Journalism; the Infinity Photojournalist award from the International Center of Photography, New York; the Visa d'Or award; and several World Press Photo awards. Morris is a founding member of the photojournalist agency VII, based in Paris.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Steidl (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3865212018
  • ISBN-13: 978-3865212016
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,779,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Whether it is due to the threat of terrorism or the president's inability to turn a clever phrase, George W. Bush has been a difficult person to truly capture in photographs. Sure, there are the many images of him that lampoon his expressions or make him appear awkward in public. But because his press office and/or handlers offer little or no opportunities for the news media to see him in a candid - or "non-canned" - moment, photojournalists are left grasping at straws and attempting to glean what they can while he enters and exits one photo opportunity after another. Not so with Christopher Morris' book "My America."

Instead of aiming the camera at the President while he waxes on about terror, taxes and family values (after all, a man at a podium is just a man at a podium), Morris looks away from the preacher and into the eyes of the congregation. Here, reflected in their awestruck faces, you can really see what kind of affect Bush has on this audience. Soldiers, cheerleaders, young women in uniform and boys in braces, all appear hypnotized by the presence of the world leader just off camera. In Morris' America, the beautiful landscape (be it a wheat field or a parking garage) is void of any humans and dotted only with the occasional black, monolithic Secret Service agent. Here life is staged, cut-out, removed from reality.

And because the President believes in God, and God is said to live in the details, Morris leaves none of them untouched. In the spirit of full disclosure, I sometimes work at the White House and cover the president. So, I've seen these details, too. But Morris frames them and captures them in a way that takes my breath away: the ice blue eyes, the ruby red lips, the diamond necklaces, the masking tape that says "THE PRESIDENT.
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Format: Hardcover
Pictures in "My America", though having qualities of many different genres and styles (political photojournalism, new topographics and fashion photography) are not manneristic, in a sense that they can't be tied to or inscribed to neither of the aesthetics. Those perfectly studied shots are simple yet discerning. People's faces are partially cropped out to focus our attention on particularities of their outlook: blood red lipstick of a young republican supporter open up in an expression of a blissful awe; a picture of a marine in his camouflage printed uniform shows only his lips pressed together tight in a grimace of pride; neatly tailored suit of the President with hands at his side and some fingers typically lifted up as if by some invisible strings. We see glassy eyes, full of hope and admiration, staring and mesmerized. We see flags, limousines, deserted areas, landscapes, car parks with men in black suits standing, waiting, watching, controlling. "My America's" cinematic narrative is disturbing. The opening photo shows a close up of a tapestry of the Presidential Seal: an eagle clutching in its beak "E Pluribus Unum" motto. Stars, rays, brown wings of the eagle, blue background knit with yarn feel almost palpable. As well as golden grasses in the field in Maine that fill up the second spread. A man in an elegant black suit stands amidst of it. His posture is unnaturally stiff, like a mannequin in a tailor's shop. We see golden buttons on his cuff and a lock of clear coiled tube on his neck. Though "My America" revolves around the President he can hardly be noticed. Fragments of his figure appear four times in the whole story, and the only time one can see his face is in a dark portrait where his calm profile shot against spotlights gives an impression of a pianist giving a concert.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
One of the problems with buying photo books online is that you have no idea of how you feel about the photos ... because you CAN'T SEE THE PICTURES.

On an intial run through this book, I was initially very drawn to the pictures. They really are very beautiful. But then I noticed something ... when you get about halfway through the book, you start noticing that everyone in the book looks the same. Then, you try to figure out what it is. You read some more of the book ... and you realize that everyone in the book is WHITE. The only people who might be considered to not be white are a few janitors somewhere in the middle of the book.

So, I'm not really sure what this author is trying to say ... apparently his America only consists of white people and a few colored janitors? To me, that's either seriously closed-minded, or something more insidious.
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