The idea of this mammoth coffee table book was to showcase the idea of Democracy through pictures.
The thing is… Democracy is an idea, it is hard to put an image along with it that isn’t something Congress, White House, Roman Senators, or Simple Waving Flag.
Joseph Sohm doesn’t go that route though…. Instead he shows the reader Democracy by tying the idea of Democracy to the idea of America… something much easier to photograph..
American people: at play, at work, in politics, in sports… American places: rural landscapes and city sky lines. This book is a gorgeous array of several of the puzzle pieces that make up the mosaic of American life. The shots are well composed, perfectly places on the pages, bright, colorful, resonating with patriotism and power.
And they are beautiful.
I like the state by state (even if I wish there had been more of it) I loved the large beautiful shots (even if a few were slightly cliché… clichés are there for a reason, because they work.) This book never failed to illicit murmurs of admiration from the people who flipped through it.
And almost everyone who has entered my apartment over the last few weeks has flipped through it, which is no small task… the book is huge and heavy. But it was worth it. As people flipped, they paused at the photographs, they nodded to themselves, they told stories of their own lives that they were suddenly reminded of because of the photographs.
No one read the text, which is a shame because it is here that Sohm really shines. But, of course, that isn’t the point of a coffee table book. The point is of visuals that impact and stay with you.
This book then, is a success.
Post script: I don’t normally put my own politics into my reviews… and today will be nom exception. However, I would like to point out that our country is currently divided over some pretty big issues and it is nice to see something positive. I think we could all benefit from taking a moment and dwelling on the good parts of our country no matter our differing opinions. I encourage you to visit the Sohm’s website and to enjoy the video below.