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A Handful of Dust: Disappearing America
Since making his earliest documentary photographs in the 1950s, David Plowden has honored those proud structures and places that America has discarded; from brawny commercial and industrial centers to small towns and farms. He reveres the honest work and spirit that built them. But the scene has changed much in the last five decades, and what's left of the honesty of small ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published March 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company
(first published December 5th 2005)
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Oct 06, 2010 Catherine Mustread rated it really liked it
Abandoned buildings, farms, factories, and grain elevators document the demise of an era in these intensely desolate photographs. Of the 76 plates included, the majority are from small towns in Iowa, Kansas and Illinois but Chicago, Brooklyn, New Mexico and a half dozen other states are also represented. In the 15 pages of text Plowden writes of revisiting places he first photographed in the 1970s. David Plowden is to photography what David McCullough is to history. I love his photographs – will ...more
Plowden's photos are marvelously evocative as always. His introductory text moves them to a dimension beyond ruin porn. Usually when you see pictures of rural decay you respond to that evocativeness and to the formal beauty of the scenes. Plowdwn connects you to the stories behind these mostly Midwestern images in the same way that he's connected, by talking about what these places (and the people who once populated them) were like when he first photographed them years ago. There really is a nar ...more
David Plowden is the author of more than twenty photography books, including Bridges: The Spans of North America, Vanishing Point: Fifty Years of Photography, and Requiem for Steam. He lives in Winnetka, Illinois.More about David Plowden...