American Bounty

A new book documents a week in the life of America in all its rich, colorful, contradictory, nostalgic, emotional, heartfelt and, oh yes, exuberant…glory

Orlando, Florida—In the 30 years that Rose Juliana, 90, has had her hair done each week at Danny's Family Barber, her price, she recalls, has more than doubled... to $15. 2003 Gary Bogdon from America 24/7,
Boston, Massachusetts—As if to prove that hope springs eternal, Red Sox fans stretch for a dinger smacked during practice over the "Green Monster," Fenway Park's infamous left field wall. 2003 Jim Davis from America 24/7,
Sandborn, New York—Tom Hoover makes the morning rounds for his family-owned dairy, which serves more than 40,000 customers annually. 2003 Michael Groll from America 24/7,
Hartford, Connecticut—Alphanso Edwards, 60, was one of the city's few African-Americans to own a business when he opened his restaurant 20 years ago. From there he keeps an eye on another venture—his laundromat. 2003 Marc-Yves Regis II from America 24/7,
Lafayette, Indiana—If Americans know where they're going, some thanks are due road workers like Tony Ybarra, preparing to stencil fresh blacktop and to set some drivers straight. 2003 Michael Heinz from America 24/7,
San Clemente, California—Eve Fletcher, 76, has been surfing the Trestles break at San Onofre State Beach for 50 years. 2003 Rick Rickman from America 24/7,
Lake Buena Vista, Florida—It might be the happies day in the life of bride Lucy Coates of Lindenhurst, Illinois, but it's just another day on the job for Richard Gerth, 77, official Fairy Tale Wedding greeter at Walt Disney World's Grand Floridian Resort. 2003 Preston Mack from America 24/7,

For a week this past May, more then 25,000 photographers—amateurs and professionals alike—set out across the United States to document daily life in all its astonishing variety. They'd been enticed by the prospect of contributing to a project led by Rick Smolan and David Elliot Cohen, who created the popular Day in the books. This time, said the duo, they wanted to assemble a scrapbook of the whole nation at a certain moment. In the end, dozens of editors culled 25,000 photographs from more than a million. Some 1,200 appear in America 24/7 (DK Publishing). The project, said to be history's largest collaborative photography effort, was also something of an experiment in digital cameras and submitting their work electronically to the project's Web site. "Our decision to make this an all-digital project reflects a critical tipping point in the history of photography," says Smolan. "This is the first year that Americans purchased more digital cameras than film cameras." The editors plan to publish 52 more such books next year, each with photographs taken in one of the 50 states, New York City and Washington, D.C. Though the imaging technology is state of the art, the instructions that Smolan and Cohen gave the photographers were decidedly down-home. "We encouraged them to find a household where they could hang their hats for a week and record the texture of modern family life," Smolan says. The resulting photographers portray an America both new and familiar, exotic and sublimely ordinary. They tug at your sense of what the nation was, is still and what it may become. Somehow, they're enough to make you nostalgic and hopeful at the same time.

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