Synopses & Reviews
Think of the quirky buildings you pass every day but whose quiet beauty you take for granted—the moviehouses, juke joints, soda fountains, barbershops, roadside diners, and storefront churches. You dont miss them until theyre gone. As suburban sprawl and strip malls conquer the country, these vestiges of a lost way of life are falling under the wrecking ball. Here the photographer Michael Eastman has made the ultimate road trip, crisscrossing the nation dozens of times, to capture these buildings on film before they vanish. These dreamy images call us to question what we choose to let go in the wake of contemporary life, with a cool melancholy that evokes the work of Edward Hopper, Jack Kerouac, and William Eggleston. There is a wry sense of humor here as well. The book delights in the idiosyncracies of Americas vernacular styles, ranging from Depression Deco to New England clapboard in random juxtapositions that accrue over time in a towns landscape. Countless visual puns arise among the books many detailed images of signs and statuettes. Vanishing America catalogues great everyday American architecture and design. But it also offers a provocative portrait of the silent emptiness that has descended upon vanishing small communities everywhere.
As suburban sprawl conquer the country, the vestiges of a lost way of life are falling under the wrecking ball. Photographer Eastman has captured these quirky buildings on film before they vanish, in this book that delights in the idiosyncrasies of America's vernacular styles.
About the Author
Michael Eastmans work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and has published two previous books of photography. He lives in St. Louis.