About the Book
Our perception of the American landscape is inevitably informed by events that are said to have taken place on a given site, just as our understanding of history is influenced by the landscape that is its necessary backdrop. Contemporary cinema has come to play an increasingly important role in complicating these associations by shifting the textual representation of history to a Hollywood simulacrum that combines mythology, fiction and entertainment with notions of truth, historical record and the illusion of reality. American Histories is a series of color photographs that explores this progressively complex relationship between landscape, history and film.
Each photograph in the series looks at a specific site that is tied to a particularly significant or disturbing event. These events are culled from history as well as cinema and are comprised of both fact and fiction, or some combination of the two. The accompanying text details the events associated with each place in a manner that invokes reportage and the objective tone of historical analysis. Issues of conflict and violence in our history and culture are prevalent throughout the text but the places that remain are by comparison quiet, seductive and ignorantly beautiful. By combining film narratives with historical events into a classical, documentary format of text and image, the series addresses photography's role in the complex entanglement that exists between media, representation and truth.
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