Collections Jason Bitner LaPorte, Indiana

ISBN 13: 9781568985305

LaPorte, Indiana

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9781568985305: LaPorte, Indiana

FOUND magazine editor Jason Bitner has made it a habit of picking up after us, walking down the back alleys of our lives, and accumulating all that we've thrown away or mislaid. One afternoon not long ago, after lunch at a small Midwestern diner, he stumbled onto a forgotten archive. In the back of the restaurant were box upon box of studio portraits of the townspeople of LaPorte, Indianaover 18,000 in total.

Taken over four decades, the photos marked important milestonesa sailor in uniform, a graduate in cap and gown, a couple newly engagedwhile others simply made modest attempts at posterity. Each in their unique way reveals both a public and private face, a story untold, a secret to reveal. They are admittedly brief moments and ones in which people have purposefully posed for the camera. Smiling. Caring. Loving. Pensive. Serious. These are pictures of all of us in a way, reflections in a mirror of the everyday moments and events that define all of our lives. LaPorte, Indiana is a major cultural excavation and an opening into these lives, into this town, and into the heart of our nation.

"These are real people. The grace and dignity one sees in their faces should be a source of hope for us all."
John Mellencamp

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About the Author:

Jason Bitner is the co-creator of FOUND magazine and is from Chicago, Illinois.

From Booklist:

LaPorte, Indiana also presents a rare and striking collection of portraits meant to preserve memories and serve as tokens of affection. Bitner, cocreator of Found Magazine, an inspired showcase of lost-and-found items, was astonished to find a cache of 18,000 professional black-and-white photographs in the backroom of an Indiana diner. As Kotlowitz notes in his introductory essay, these carefully posed portraits of the townspeople of LaPorte taken during the 1950s and 1960s capture the idealized self-images of middle-class midwesterners. Bitner describes the photographer, Frank Pease, as an "accidental historian." One might also say that Pease created what art critic Michael Kimmelman calls "accidental masterpieces." Certainly, the 200 lustrous portraits of people at every stage of life possess a mesmerizing power, running the gamut from sweet to hilarious, poignant to beautiful.

Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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