A historical record in words and pictures of American society in the years following the Second World War.
After World War II, the prevalent self-image among America's white middle class was one of affluence, moral superiority, and contentment. This image is reflected in photographs in both advertising and the media during the late 1940s and 1950s showing perfect citizens and their families at work and at play. Many of these apparently candid photographs were in fact created by professional studio photographersto portray the way most middle-class Americans wanted to present themselves.
But what many contemporary artists and intellectuals saw instead of this idyllic picture was widespread complacency and conformity, as well as racism, poverty, political witch hunts, and alienation. Their writings are excerpted here, juxtaposed with images depicting domestic bliss and wealth. This dissonance between the words of the social critics who emphasized our problems and discontents and the photographic images of how we wanted to see ourselves make the subsequent upheavals of the 1960s understandable.
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Edition description:||1 ED|
|Product dimensions:||8.80(w) x 10.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Barbara Norfleet is founder and curator of the Photography Collection at Harvard University and an accomplished photographer. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an extraordinarily subtle and artful collection that constitutes a sort of portrait of American life in the early postwar period. "The images in this book, taken by professional and commercial photographers, such as Joe Steinmetz and Lucien Brown, highlight the family, rituals, and social events for clients rich enough to hire them. . . . To find their meaning is not easy." Highly recommended!Barbara Norfleet was born in 1926; this book covers the period of her early adulthood (1946-1959).