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Icons of the Highway: A Celebration of Small-Town America Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 6, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In this full-color photographic tribute to the American highway culture of "the 1950s and 1960s, when the independent motel was king," U.K.-based husband and wife team the Worobiecs (Ghosts in the Wilderness) compile images from five road trips through the heart of the U.S. From the high plains of Montana and North Dakota to the length of Route 66 to the dusty towns of Texas and Kansas, the Worobiecs photograph diners, motels, movie theaters and landscapes at twilight-appropriate lighting for independent businesses struggling to survive under threat of "slick franchised establishments." From the rich, neon-embellished facade of the restored Palace Theater in Georgetown, Texas to the historic Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, readers will find much to grow nostalgic for. Despite the harsh reality these establishments face, this volume demonstrates that "the style and grace of an earlier era" has a value beyond profit. The Worobiecs have provided brief but arresting captions, maps of each trip and commentary about their journeys, a rich collection that will interest fans of the American West, the open road and color photography.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
I'm just very sorry more attention wasn't paid to the layout of these photographs, although I do realize`that this formatting possibly kept the price fairly low.
That said, I'm still glad I didn't miss this book - these images are a romp and a roll in the neon buzz and hum of places that beckon to our subconscious.
Don't be surprised if you find yourself planning a roadtrip - that's the power in this book.
Buy it if you want a backdrop for some stunning daydreams and a prod for adventure on the open road.
Skip it if you're incredibly picky about photography books - you'll never forgive its layout.
The Worobiec's coverage is basically the mid-west, from the Canadian border to Texas and the five chapters each start with a pleasant graphic map and some text about the towns visited so the book, like Ghosts in the wilderness is a bit more than a photo book.
I thought the movie theaters came out best photographically. Their structure implies a straight forward composition and they are mostly visually flamboyant enough not to need to be shot with odd angles or color gimmicks. There are several in the book that just look stunning. Oddly the interiors seem the opposite to me, the ten included look remarkable dull, just dozens of empty seats. The diners and motels provide a rich source of neon signage outside and in the case of diners chrome and Americana inside.
Wonderful though most of the photos were I was slightly disappointed with the book because of the paper. I wish it was a better quality because it would have given the photos the lift they deserved. As it is I thought so many of the images had a softness to them which a better stock would have reduced and many of the pages have a thick black border which also tends to reduce their color impact. Compare the front cover with the same photo on page ninety, both use a 175 screen yet the cover is on better paper and probably has a coat of clear varnish to make it sparkle.
I was made aware of some of this when comparing Icons with Michael Eastman's Vanishing America: The End of Main Street Diners, Drive-Ins, Donut Shops, and Other Everyday Monuments. Both books look at small towns but Eastman's photos printed on a matt art paper look quite stunning with their rich colors and sharpness.
The Worobiec's celebration of small town America doesn't quite come up to the quality of Ghosts in the wilderness though at the price you'll be able to find it online does make it a bit of a bargain.
***SEE SOME INSIDE SPREADS by clicking 'customer images' under the cover. `