American Dreaming

Jerry Spagnoli

1990 - 1995

United States

I began shooting this series at the time of the build-up to the Gulf War in 1990 and intended it to reflect the feeling in America at that time, from the position of one person with a camera in his hand. I shot with a Leica and a 35mm lens and afterwards, I selected the bits of the negative that I found interesting rather than using the full frame. This process freed the images from the constraints of their apparent context and allowed them to be more open-ended. I decided to place the images in a book with a multi-layered and enveloping layout that would be complex enough to forestall any simple understanding, and rich enough to reward coming to terms with the "reading" of the work as an inner experience.

Our knowledge and ideas about the world are the results of our particular training and experiences. That's where we get our "point of view." When we walk down a street, we see what we are prepared to see, and understand only as much as our habits and predispositions will allow. What we see is not "what's out there." In a very real sense, it is each individual's own mind that depicts the world. This book is intended as a practical metaphor for that idea. It is about many things, but fundamentally, it is about the process of unearthing an inner narrative from the bits and pieces scattered around us in the everyday world - order from chaos.

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