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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Inside America's Suburban Dream


Inside America's suburban dream: Intimate images capture the home comforts and togetherness of middle-class family life

Photographer Beth Yarnelle Edwards sees the suburbs of Silicon Valley as the 'physical embodiment of the American Dream.'
To her this is 'a place where natural beauty intersects with opportunities in high-tech industry, an increasingly diverse yet predominately affluent population, and access to nearby cultural centers.' 
Edwards has been capturing idyllic middle-class life in America and Europe for 16 years and her work reveals comfort, aspiration and stability, but also the more mundane aspects of a suburban existence.
She took her first series of evocative photos, entitled Suburban Dreams, in the Silicon Valley in 1997, where she had lived for many years.
The photographer explains that: 'Sometimes, I'm so interested in what's going on with people in their homes that I want to know what's in the closet or under the bed.
'In my photographs I aspire to tell the viewer not just about what can be seen, but also about things that are hidden and locked away…'
Edwards visits the homes first and interviews her subjects. She then collaborates with them, asking the families to improvise poses based on their lives.
She says: 'As I attempt to reveal some basic truth about my subjects, I'm attracted to the peculiar or surprising. This can take many forms, ranging from humor to visual quirkiness to a sense of universality, or even the uncanny.'
'I think of my images as being like genre paintings because they're intended to depict a typical event in the home rather than a decisive moment,' Edwards told Slate.com. 'And like genre paintings, I strive to include as much information about the people and the place as possible.'
More photographs and information can be found at bethyarnelleedwards.com and her Suburban Dreams book is available at Amazon.
America's pastime: A family plays baseball in their drive in this sunny photograph entitled Samantha
America's pastime: A family plays baseball in their drive in this sunny photograph entitled Samantha
Rest and Relaxation: 'Marisa' takes a bubble bath
Rest and Relaxation: 'Marisa' takes a bubble bath
Domesticity: 'Bruce and Melissa' take in the game with some friends
Domesticity: 'Bruce and Melissa' take in the game with some friends
'Niki': Three sisters prepare for a night out with the crimped hair and fashions of the late 1990s
'Niki': Three sisters prepare for a night out with the crimped hair and fashions of the late 1990s
'Lorraine': A woman contemplates the world in her bedroom
'Lorraine': A woman contemplates the world in her bedroom
Calm: A young family enjoy some peaceful time with a sleeping toddler
Calm: A young family enjoy some peaceful time with a sleeping toddler
'Laurel': A girl practices cheerleading while her teenage brother plays guitar and the parents look on
'Laurel': A girl practices cheerleading while her teenage brother plays guitar and the parents look on
'John': Morning rush hour as this family heads for the door
'John': Morning rush hour as this family heads for the door
'Dyanne': A woman takes a quiet moment before a dinner party
'Dyanne': A woman takes a quiet moment before a dinner party
'Erin': A teenager poses with her collection of must-have toy of the time - Troll Dolls
'Erin': A teenager poses with her collection of must-have toy of the time - Troll Dolls
Routine: 'Art and Carol' eat breakfast in their kitchen
Routine: 'Art and Carol' eat breakfast in their kitchen
'June': A mother who exercises in the family room when her children are sleeping
'June': A mother who exercises in the family room when her children are sleeping
'Colby': An extended family enjoys Saturday morning together
'Colby': An extended family enjoys Saturday morning together
'Anniqua': A family spends quality time together
'Anniqua': A family spends quality time together

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