Over a period of seven years Leist traveled across America, photographing people from Rochester to Key West and from New York City to Los Angeles. Before making a portrait the photographer asked each person to provide him with a childhood photograph. This childhood image often supplied the initial visual framework for Leist s portrait. The essays, which accompany each pair of portraits, reveal the subjects, own views on their life, and what it means to be an American. Like America itself, the book presents a diverse tableau of race and background, youth and experience, native born and immigrant, capturing the complex mix of America s contemporary society. An extraordinary encounter with recent American experience. . Alan Trachtenberg
Reiner Leist lives in New York and teaches photography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. His previous books are South Africa: Blue Portraits and Window.