American photographer Pamela Littky lives in Los Angeles, a place she believes has many assets, including idyllic weather. But one thing Littky finds lacking in her city of flowers and sunshine is a true sense of community. At a time when America seems to dwell on what divides the nation more than what binds it, Littky uses photography to embrace one of the country’s most common traditions: the fair.
For more than 170 years the fair has been a bedrock of American communities across the country. Originally a meeting place for farmers to promote local agriculture, in the 20th century, as the U.S. shifted from an agrarian to an urban society, the fair expanded to include a wealth of family focused entertainment.
During the summer of 2015, Littky traveled across the country chronicling this symbol of America’s pastoral heartland. The images Littky made are published for the first time in American Fair (Kehrer Verlag, March 2018). “What she discovered,” reveals the press release for the book, “is that the essence of the American fair has not changed very much over the past century.” Although the social and cultural fabric of the U.S. has evolved, the fairs continue to draw millions of people from all walks of life seeking a place where community is celebrated and some of the most nostalgic ideals of America are recalled.
The photographs, taken in over 15 states, intend to capture the essence of the American fair, a place “where wistful reflections on the past meet the challenging realities of American life in the 21st century.”
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