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The Oxford Project

The Alex-award winning "The Oxford Project" is back in an abridged paperback edition. Less expensive, more portable, and retaining all the drama of this extraordinary true tale of a seemingly ordinary Midwestern town through the pictures and words its residents. Equal parts art, American histroy, cultural anthropology, and human narrative - "The Oxford Project" is at once personal and universal, surprising and predictable, simple and profound. The Project began in 1984, when photographer Peter Feldstein set out to photograph every single resident of his town, Oxford, IA (pop. 676). He converted an abandoned storefront on Main Street into a makeshift studio and posted fliers inviting people to stop by. At first they trickled in slowly but in the end nearly all of Oxford stood before his lens. Twenty years later, Feldstein decided to do it again. Only this time he invited writer Stephen G. Bloom to join him, and together they went in search of the same Oxford residents Feldstein had originally shot two decades earlier. What emerges is a living composite of a quintessential Midwestern community, told through the words and images of its residents - then and now. This intricate web of human connections among neighbors, friends, and family is the mainstay of small-town American life - unforgettably captured here in Feldstein's candid black-and-white photography and Bloom's rhythmic storytelling.
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About the Author

Peter Feldstein is an artist working at the intersection of photography, drawing, printmaking, and digital imaging. Feldstein's work has been shown in galleries across the country, at eh Des Moines Art Center and has been included in group exhibition at the Center for Creative Photography, Walker Art Center, and the Rhode Island School of Design. He has received an NEA Individual Artist's Grant and two Polaroid Collection Grants. For more than three decades, Feldstein taught photography and digital imaging at the University of Iowa School of Art & Art History. Stephen G. Bloom is the author of Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America (Harvest Books). He is also the author of a collection of non-fiction stories, Inside the Writer's Mind (Wiley-Blackwell), and Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls (St. Martin's Press). Since 1993, Bloom has taught at the University of Iowa, where he specializes in narrative writing.


In this cleverly designed and artfully illustrated publication, artist Feldstein and Bloom (journalism & mass communication, Univ. of Iowa; Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America) document inhabitants of the small town of Oxford, IA, with more than 300 black-and-white photographic portraits and first-person narratives. Feldstein, who was living in Oxford in 1984, offered to photograph for free all the town's residents; 20 years later, he photographed as many of his previous subjects as he could locate, and Bloom interviewed 100 of the residents. Masterfully and collaboratively conceived, this book consists of demographic, historical, and visual data about Oxford and snapshots of the town's inhabitants in 1984 juxtaposed to those taken in present times, many of which are offset by their stories. Of significance to humanities scholars and social scientists as well as to general readers who may relate to its subjects, this work provides a good glimpse of small-town America but is unlikely to be the most authoritative vision. Accompanying a traveling exhibition to China and Italy, this publication is strongly recommended for many undergraduate academic, large public, and local library collections, particularly those encompassing documentary photography and narrative journalism.--Cheryl Ann Lajos, Free Lib. of Philadelphia Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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