Aug 14, 2009

Visions of America by Joseph Sohm

Visions of America by Joseph Sohm is more than a collection of photos about democracy, it is one man's journey across America to find democracy and reconnect with his nation. Amidst the photographs Sohm intersperses our nation's history and the emergence of our very own icons--the bald eagle, Mount Rushmore, the American flag, and more.

And one point in this "travel" journal, Sohm says, "Maybe the point in photographing icons of democracy is more about seeking perfection than finding it." (Page 7). Not only are the photos gorgeous, the essays are poignant and informative about his journey and our nation's history.

Visions of America is a coffee table book for guests to peruse while dinner is cooking, for friends, family, and neighbors to ogle and discuss. This book compiles some of the most breathtaking images of our nation's countryside, our icons, and our people from all walks of life.

Each page is laid out in a variety of ways from large images with superimposed images of birds and famous quotes from former presidents and others. One of my favorite tidbits from the book is when Sohm talks about how he got out his trusty Mr. Clean and paper towels to wash down the New Hampshire welcome sign for its photo shoot.

There are a series of panoramic photos throughout the books from the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., to landscapes in Utah, Alaska, and California. Countrysides, cityscapes, everyday men and women, and communities pepper this volume and celebrate democracy in a variety of ways.

Readers eager for a break from traditional reading pursuits should consider picking up this beautiful volume of our American heritage. There are only two possible drawbacks to this book--the cost of $75 and the heft of the book itself. You won't be carrying this one around on the subway. Photographers--amateur and professional--will want to add Visions of America to their collections. However, Sohm has a great eye for what makes this country great and his photography and essays are a testament to our nation's grandeur.

Please check out the video interview with Joseph Sohm and a Photo Symphony. Don't forget the Visions of America Web site.

Stay tuned for my interview with Joseph Sohm next week. Thanks to Joseph for sending me this beautiful book and for providing me with the photos for this post. All photos are copyrighted by Joseph Sohm and cannot be reproduced without permission.



13 comments:

Wrighty said...

This looks absolutely beautiful and so inspirational! I love photography and wish I had oodles of money to buy bigger cameras. In the meantime I'll keep taking photos with my dinky camera and appreciate other peoples' work. Congrats on receiving such a wonderful book!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I love a good, though-provoking picture book. Not only does it cause me to aspire to take better pictures, it evokes emotion. Even the ones you have shown are incredible! I need to see if I can track this one down at the book store next time I go!

Serena said...

Wrighty: I just noticed today that this book is on Amazon for $55, which is a pretty good discount. I really loved this book.

Sandy: I love this book and I was given so many images to choose from. I tried to pick ones that I hadn't seen used in other reviews, but I think we all got the same grouping. Some of my favorites would have made great material for this review.

Anna said...

This one looked great when I saw it at your house, but it was so heavy it wasn't even comfortable to hold it and read it sitting on the couch! Still, the pictures are gorgeous.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

lilly said...

It looks really great and the pictures you've chosen are really gorgeous. I think we all should have a book such as this in our homes.

Serena said...

Anna: I really love the book regardless of its heft.

Lilly: I agree...as Americans I think we should.

bermudaonion said...

What gorgeous photos! Sounds like a wonderful book.

Marie Burton said...

What a great review, and a great book that all Americans need to have on their coffee tables!
I shall look forward to the interview as well, thanks for everything Serena!

Serena said...

Bermudaonion: this book should be in everyone's home.

Marie: thanks for checking out the review. and if you need help, I'm around most of the time to oblige.

Kelly said...

Wonderful review, this book would be a wonderful gift for my mom's birthday. Thanks for all the info!

Beth F said...

I'm behind in my blog reading and I'll be back! But for now, I have an award for you: http://bfishreads.blogspot.com/2009/08/awards-creative-rock-n-roll.html

stacybuckeye said...

These photos are gorgeous. I think I need to get my hands on a copy of this book.

Jenners said...

I saw this over on Alyce's blog too and it just looks so beautiful!!!