THE AMERICAN FAMILY: A History in Photographs by Jeffrey Simpson

THE AMERICAN FAMILY: A History in Photographs

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Different aspects of family life over the past 125 years are portrayed in close to 300 photographs of many families. Conveying social trends in pictures has its difficulties but the contrasts and changes through the years are fairly well presented here. The family, at first stiff and gussied up, yields to looser, more expressive postures once magazine photography points the way. People play, mourn, court, hold favorite possessions, and show signs of stress as the family as an institution changes from a functioning economic unit to today's tread-water entity. There are field workers, reunion scenes, car backseat huddles, porch sitters, embraces of all sorts--planned and candid shots. As an album, this has none of the cumulative emotion or continuing features of a single family's experiences, as in Catherine Noren's The Camera of My Family, but the variety is impressive and the text provides an acceptable framework of contemporary events and interpretive commentary.

Pub Date: April 24th, 1977
Publisher: Viking