Center for American Places, Chicago, 2006
11.5 x 9.75 inches, 53 color images, 104 pages
Text by Richard B. Woodward
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Clambering down slippery rocks to a swimming hole. Ducking the plume of smoke from a barbecue grill. Wishing for a breeze in a too-small dome tent. Scanning the sky for rain from a postage-stamp backyard. It is in these small moments of action—and inaction—that Justin Kimball captures our everyday attempts to relax. Indeed, one might argue that the events depicted are everyday life.
Kimball’s compelling photographs depict ordinary people—parents and teens, grandparents and kids—in landscapes of leisure. These are not the exclusive resorts and white sand beaches of the affluent; rather, they are the parks, campgrounds, and fishing piers where most Americans vacation. They are natural landscapes—inviting, green, and sometimes beautiful—but at the same time they are imperfect—muddy, crowded, and partially paved. There is nothing idyllic about these vacation spots; indeed, Kimball’s photographs make clear that daily life can never be fully left behind. The people in his pictures, though momentarily transformed by cascading water or the shade of towering trees, remain enmeshed in ties of family and obligation, shadowed by thoughts of home.
It is Kimball’s particular genius to isolate these moments between duty and pleasure. Where We Find Ourselves enables viewers to identify with—and participate in—this bittersweet aspect of American leisure and the ambiguous contemporary relationship between people and nature