Brand : Barbara P. Norfleet

The Champion Pig: Great Moments in Everyday Life

Robin |

Contentment captured

I think this was barbara norfleet's first book of 'real everyday life usa' photo books and without her dedication to the format so many of these treasures would have been lost. what a simple idea though: trawl through the archives of photographers who had studios in small towns across the country. during several decades these folk had captured, for a fee, the activities of the community. this has to be qualified by saying these photos celebrate, in a deliberately positive way, the attitudes and aspirations of the white middle and upper classes. these are photos taken by photographers who were paid to please and as such they tend to be anonymous shots: no clever angles; extreme contrasts; soft focus; blurring or in fact anything that might be considered `artistic'. ok, so they are not art but without doubt they tell a compelling story about the lives of a very large section of the population. portraits; first baby; weddings; off to the prom; parades; family gatherings; parties; opening of a new store; beauty contests; back from a hunting trip and more. so many of them are rich in detail especially those from the thirties to the fifties. norfleet struck gold when she found the work of joe steinmetz from florida (he has the most in the book) a successful commercial photographer whose output was remarkable because his work, despite the anonymous style of this sort of photography, is very creative. fifty-six of his photos are in , also by norfleet. the 'champion pig' together with two other of her books: and , capture past times brilliantly. ***look at some inside pages by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.

Sarah mcintyre |

Quirky & fascinating

I first found this book in a used bookshop in greenwich, london, and couldn't put it down. its black and white photos are full of fascinating details - many of which i continue to spot! some of the more odd pictures beg explanation, but norfleet tantalisingly seldom provides any. in a few pictures she does give some background, but just enough to make me look more closely at the other photos and want to conjure my own stories about them. the photos resemble life magazine pictures, but are much more quirky and subtle. this is one of my all-time favourite picture books, and comes down from the shelf on many an evening.

Maia |

Small town life at its best

Very odd and wonderfully strange compilation of photos of small town america. culled from the files of small time, local photographers, these photos show things that are rarely seen anymore. there are photos of girl scouts from roswell, nm ca 1959; bullriders in sarasota, florida in 1941, a sarasota hamburg palace in 1959, and one of my personal favorites, a scene from a tupperware party in 1958. this book is a must for anyone interested in the american landscape from the 1930s to around 1960.