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Art & Photography - Individual Artists / Artists's Books New Titles

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ISBN: 9781948192255
Binding: Hardcover
Author: Paul Shambroom
Pages: 84
Trim: 12 x 9 inches
Published: 07/01/2024

"We got to live together." Sly Stone sang in his 1968 song Everyday People. These photographs from Purpletowns across America address whether that is possible in this time of deep political and cultural polarization.

Purpletowns are communities that were exact or virtual ties in the 2020 US presidential election. In the twenty-first century, America is a nation almost evenly divided. The winning popular vote margin in three of the the six presidential elections since 2000 has been 2.5% or less.

Until recently most Americans across the political divide managed to live and work together with some degree of civility and neighborliness. Most on both sides agree that in the aftermath of the 2020 election, this is no longer always the case.

People in Purpletowns cannot avoid each other. They shop in the same stores, their kids may attend the same schools, they may work and even worship together. Is there some sort of equilibrium in these places, a natural process of social preservation, an unspoken system of checks and balances on the discord that can drive a community apart? Shambroom set out looking for answers, visiting and photographing between 2021 and 2024 in more than sixty different towns and cities in twenty-two states.

This deluxe volume contains 56 photographs, an introductory essay, field notes, and interviews with people the author encountered in Purpletowns across the country. It features a three-color cloth foil-stamped cover and high quality color reproduction and paper. it is a beautifully photographed take on contemporary (mostly) small-town America that casts an unflinching yet hopeful view on the troubled state of our culture and democracy.


Paul Shambroom uses found and original photographs to explore American power and culture.

His photographs have been collected and exhibited by the Whitney Museum of American Art, (included in the 1997 Whitney Biennial) the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walker Art Center, and many others. Shambroom's solo shows include the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Arles Rencontres de la Photographie in France, the Nederlands Fotomuseum, and galleries in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, London, and Frankfurt.

Paul has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Creative Capital Foundation, and others. His most recent book Past Time, Fall Line Press (Atlanta) was published in 2020. His 2008 traveling survey exhibition Paul Shambroom: Picturing Power was accompanied by a 160-page illustrated catalog distributed by D.A.P. Two additional monographs of his photographs have been published: Face to Face with the Bomb: Nuclear Reality After the Cold War by John Hopkins University Press (Baltimore) in 2003, and Meetings by Chris Boot Ltd. (London) in 2004.

Shambroom is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art, University of Minnesota.