Winner of the third biennial Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize
Robert Frank, Prize JudgeIn Driftless, Danny Wilcox Frazier's dramatic black-and-white photographs portray a changing Midwest of vanishing towns and transformed landscapes. As rural economies fail, people, resources, and services are migrating to the coasts and cities, as though the heart of America were being emptied. Frazier's arresting photographs take us into Iowa's abandoned places and illuminate the lives of those people who stay behind and continue to live there: young people at leisure, fishermen on the Mississippi, veterans on Memorial Day, Amish women playing cards, as well as more recent arrivals: Lubavitcher Hasidic Jews at prayer, Latinos at work in the fields. Frazier's camera finds these newcomers while it also captures activities that seemingly have gone on forever: harvesting and hunting, celebrating and socializing, praying and surviving.
This collection of photographs is a portrait of contemporary rural Iowa, but it is also more that that. It shows what is happening in many rural and out-of-the-way communities all over the United States, where people find ways to get by in the wake of closing factories and the demise of family farms. Taken by a true insider who has lived in Iowa his entire life, Frazier's photographs are rich in emotion and give expression to the hopes and desires of the people who remain, whose needs and wants are complicated by the economic realities remaking rural America. Poetic and dark but illuminated with flashes of insight, Frazier's stunning images evoke the brilliance of Robert Frank's The Americans.
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Danny Wilcox Frazier is a freelance photographer. Raised in Le Claire, a small Iowa town that sits along the Mississippi River, he now lives in Iowa City. Frazier has a master's degree from the University of Iowa, and he has received awards from the University of Missouri's Pictures of the Year International, including its 2004 Community Awareness Award for selections of his work from Iowa. He has also received a Stanley Fellowship, as well as awards from the National Press Photographers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. His images have appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Mother Jones, U.S. News & World Report, Life, and Forbes. Robert Frank is one of America's preeminent photographers. His complex and visionary photographs of postwar America, as well as his later films and videos, have greatly influenced the work of generations of artists. Frank's book The Americans (1958) brought him international attention and marked a turning point in photography. The National Gallery of Art in Washington founded the Robert Frank Collection in 1990. He has received numerous awards, including an International Photography Award from the Hasselblad Foundation in Sweden and a Cornell Capa Award from the International Center of Photography in New York.
In Iowa / Seamus Heaney v Foreword / Robert Frank x Photographs 1 Acknowledgments 118