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.