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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 history, 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.
“I opened the book for a quick browse and read it from cover to cover before I realized it was nearly three in the morning on a school night, but a more temperate reader would likely enjoy flipping through a section or even opening it to a random page. Photo majors, and anyone else interested in the human condition, should not miss The Oxford Project.” - DCAD Delaware College of Art & Design
“The product is a hard-to-put-down coffee-table book, with big, striking then-and-now portraits, that pulls you deep into small-town America, with its almost excessive joys. The danger of such a project is that it can make caricatures out of real people - but this book stays true to its life-worn subjects and to the complexities of what would seem to be the most simple of places.” - The Atlantic
“People don't get much more real than this, and there’s a heartbreaking, forensic pleasure in paging through the book to stare at the pictures for minutes at a time, looking at the thousands of ways in which the years change each of us.” - The Washington Post
“What a marvelous way to get at ‘who we are’ as people. This powerful, confessional book draws its strength from the truth that so-called ordinary people, not those with bold-faced names, are actually the heroes of our American drama.” - Ken Burns, Emmy award-winning director of The Civil War
“Cleverly designed and artfully illustrated. Of significance to humanities scholars and socials scientists, as well as general readers, this work provides a good glimpse of small town America.” - Library Journal