19 October 2020

The American Dream Seen Through Springsteen's Music 

19 October 2020 - Written by PhMuseum

Inspired by the music and its characters, Italian photographer Daria Addabbo travels to the United States to document what the country looks like 40 years after Bruce Springsteen composed his songs.

Springsteen's songs have been a huge inspiration for me. Stories told in his songs are so full of visual details that one could even argue Springsteen is a photographer himself.

The aim in this work was to picture his songs through the contemporary United States: the working-class condition, the middle-class crisis, the American Dream, broken but still alive, immigration and all the social and cultural fractures in Trump's America.

Work is one of the most important topics in his songs: Springsteen's workers belong to underqualified tertiary industries of the suburbs and the sprawl of American cities. So these people try to climb the social ladder, and that's the American Dream, the hope that children will have better lives than their parents. This is the most painfully broken promise of the American Dream.

The context of Springsteen stories are workplaces: car washes, car workshops, supermarkets, laundromats, diners, factories; they also feature homes scenes, usually at nighttime, cars, the sprawl, with its scale of grey that resembles a parking lot; the night, as a salvation route, theatre of all escapes.

Springsteen characters have no idea of where this Promised Land may be. They are workers, fathers and sons, outlaws, veterans that after the war has found a new uniform: the working-class army. And of course, they are women.

Forty years after the time Springsteen wrote his songs, this is my attempt to portrait these stories and their characters.

Words and Pictures by Daria Addabbo.


Daria Addabbo was born in 1979 in Rome, where she currently lives and works. After following her studies at the Faculty of Literature, she moved to Buenos Aires, where she attended a course in photojournalism. Back in Rome, she attended a master in photojournalism. She has published her work in Italy and abroad. Find her on PHmuseum and Instagram.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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