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Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota (Center for American Places - Center Books on American Places) [Paperback]

By Jim Dow (Photographer) & Laurel J. Reuter (Editor)
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Item description for Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota (Center for American Places - Center Books on American Places) by Jim Dow & Laurel J. Reuter...

The demanding frontier life of My Ántonia or Little House on the Prairie may be long gone, but the idyllic small town still exists as a cherished icon of American community life. Yet sprawl and urban density, rather than small towns and farms, are the predominant features of our modern society, agribusiness and other commercial forces have rapidly taken over family farms and ranches, and even the open spaces we think of as natural retreats only retain the barest façade of their former frontier austerity. The fading communities, social upheaval, and enduring heritage of the Northern Plains are the subject of Jim Dow's Marking the Land, a stirring photographic tribute to the complex and unyielding landscape of North Dakota.


Jim Dow began making pilgrimages to this remote territory in 1981 and, with a commission from the North Dakota Museum of Art, he took photographs of the passing human presence on the land. The simple, stolid pieces of architecture carved out against the Dakota skies—whether the local schoolhouse, car wash, prison, homes, hunting lodge, or churches—evoke in their spare lines and weather-battered frames the stoic and toughened spirit of the people within their walls. Folk art is also an integral part of the landscape in Dow's visual study, and he examines the subtle evolution of local craftsmanship from homemade sculptures, murals, and carvings to carefully crafted pieces aimed at tourists. Anchoring all of these explorations is the raw and striking landscape of the North Dakota plains.


Marking the Land is a moving reflection by a leading American photographer on the state of the Northern Plains today, forcing us all to rethink our conceptions of America's forgotten frontier.



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Item Specifications...

Pages   207
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 11.25" Height: 10"
Weight:   2.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 15, 2007
Publisher   Center for American Places
ISBN  1930066643  
ISBN13  9781930066649  

Availability  0 units.

More About Jim Dow & Laurel J. Reuter

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jim Dow teaches photography, the history of photography, and contemporary art at Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the North Dakota Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, George Eastman House, J. Paul Getty Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Museum of Modern Art, among others.

Jim Dow was born in 1942.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Art & Music > Studio Art > Photography
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > General
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photo Essays
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Photographers, A-Z > General
5Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Travel > United States > General
6Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Photography > Travel > United States > Midwest

Reviews - What do customers think about Marking the Land: Jim Dow in North Dakota (Center for American Places - Center Books on American Places)?

North Dakota???????  Mar 28, 2008
descent photography, I feel as though if you are going to say "Jim Dow in North Dakota" the photos should be only from ND and not the surrounding states. If you are from ND you may not like it.
Northern Plains quietude  Oct 9, 2007
Jim Dow has done us all a favor with his remarkable book of photos. In the final chapter called Dreaming and Redemption he says `Those unfamiliar with North Dakota habitually say that it is cold, boring, flat, desolate and empty -- inadequate generalizations that simply don't hold up'. Just look through the 185 color photos several times and the Peace Garden State will grow on you and although none of the photos contain people you really feel their presence.

One of the strengths of the book is the editorial flow. Rather than just run page after page of photos here the work is divided into eight chapters each with a page introduction. Some are quite short like the first one: Views of North Dakota, which surprisingly is made up of twelve shots of the inside walls of the state penitentiary where bad guy Charles Olive, murderer and sign painter created a series of murals showing the North Dakota landscape. The Marking the Land chapter has thirty-seven photos of man-made signs, rusting agricultural machinery (deliberately left as a mark on the landscape) and larger than life animal statues. Artists and Workplace chapter (sixty photos) features workshops, bars, retail interiors and commercial architecture. Religious Life (twenty photos) reflects the diverse nature of grave markers and church buildings found in the State.

Although I have a paperback copy (2500 printed according to the imprint) I think it could be considered a book of coffee table proportions, well printed in an impressively fine screen and unusual for a photo book it has an index, too. I would only fault this book of photos in the way captions have been handled. Like many photo books they are at the back with a thumbnail and page number when nearly all the text would easily fit under the relevant images.

I think Jim Dow's impressive photos reveal a lot more of North Dakota than the predictable cold, boring and flat cliché.

***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.

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