First published in 1987, Joel Sternfeld’s American Prospects is the classic photo record of 1980s America. This definitive edition, made with new plates and including one additional photograph, offers a spectacular, funny, sad and soberly riveting portrait of America’s diverse possibilities and prospects in the Reagan era. From the famous “Wet n’ Wild Aquatic Theme Park” in Florida to “The Space Shuttle Columbia Lands at Kelly Air Force Base” in San Antonio, Texas; from melancholy images of beached whales in Oregon to beautiful views of Yellowstone National Park and Bear Lake in Utah; from post-tornado Nebraska to a previously unseen photograph from the series, “Bikini Contest, Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 1983”; the sublime contradictions and tragicomedy of this volume are without doubt one of the greatest accomplishments of color photography, all the more fully realized in this splendid new edition. An essay by Kerry Brougher, Chief Curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, considers the historical context of Sternfeld’s book and the pivotal role that American Prospects has played in the evolution of contemporary filmmaking and art photography.
A major exponent of color photography in America, Joel Sternfeld was born in New York City in 1944. He has received numerous awards including two Guggenheim fellowships, a Prix de Rome and the Citibank Photography Award. Sternfeld’s other books include On This Site (1997), Hart Island (1998), Stranger Passing (2001), Walking the High Line (2002), Sweet Earth (2006), When It Changed (2007), Oxbow Archive (2008) and First Pictures (2011).