Corn Dogs, Blue Ribbons, and the American Pastoral

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Artist’s Statement:

Corn Dogs and Blue Ribbons is a portfolio of photographs that I took over a three-year period at fourteen summer fairs in New England, ranging in size from small 4H fairs to giant ‘expos’. Passing through the gates of the first fair, I was smitten. A complicated balance of huckster sleaze and startling innocence, of whirlpool baths, pungent livestock, and religious salvation, against a backdrop of gleeful screams, the aroma of fried dough, bells and whistles. The deep connection between people and their animals was particularly intriguing to me and enviable.

This portfolio presents a wistful visual record of this American tradition that has changed little over the past century. I chose to photograph in black and white, using basic plastic “toy” cameras, because I wanted to capture a fleeting moment, a broad stroke, not precise detail. To go beyond documentation to the then-or-now of it.

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