oxfordprojectIn 1984 photographer and University of Iowa art professor Peter Feldstein set out to photograph all 676 residents in his town of Oxford, Iowa. Over the course of the summer he succeeded in photographing 670 individuals “as they were”: in street clothes, some lugging shopping bags or carrying pets or children. Peter returned in 2005 to re-photograph as many of the original residents as he could, this time bringing along University of Iowa journalism professor Stephen Bloom to interview residents. The Oxford Project compiles the photos and interviews to provide a case study of small town life in America.

The biographies are concisely written and give you a glimpse into the lives of the residents: their personal triumphs and tragedies, their accomplishments and regrets. This book highlights the differences 20 years brings but also the striking similarities in dress, posture, and overall demeanor that people tend to maintain throughout their lives. Like any good book, The Oxford Project encourages the reader to reflect on their own life. In 20 years, what will you look back with satisfaction or regret the chances you didn’t take?




Did you travel somewhere exciting this summer?  Did you take photographs that you want to share, but your family has watched your slideshow enough?  Then maybe you should submit your photos to the German American Heritage Center’s Travel Photography Contest!  You have until September 22nd to submit your potentially winning photograph, and selected photographs will be on exhibit from October 6th until January 5th.

In the meantime, you should check out some of the library’s photography resources for inspiration or instruction.

shutterfly     70yearslife     digitalthroughyear     night&lowlight

The shutterfly guide to great digital photos by Jeffery Housenbold

The complete guide to night & lowlight digital photography by Michael Freeman

Platinum anniversary collection : 70 years of extraordinary photography 

Capture the light : a guide for beginning digital photographers by Steve Meltzer

lonelyplanet      ansel adams      capture the light     ultimate field guide

Lonely Planet’s Guide to travel photography by Richard l’Anson

Digital photography through the year by Tom Ang

Ultimate field guide to travel photography by Scott Stuckey

Ansel Adams in the national parks : photographs from America’s wild places by Ansel Adams

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher explores how a lone man’s epic obsession led to one of America’s greatest cultural treasures: prizewinning writer Timothy Egan tells the riveting, cinematic story behind the most famous photographs in Native American history — and the driven, brilliant man who made them.

Edward Curtis was charismatic, handsome, a passionate mountaineer, and a famous photographer, the Annie Leibovitz of his time. He moved in rarefied circles, a friend to presidents, vaudeville stars, leading thinkers. He was thirty-two years old in 1900 when he gave it all up to pursue his Great Idea: to capture on film the continent’s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared. An Indiana Jones with a camera, Curtis spent the next three decades traveling from the Havasupai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the Acoma on a high mesa in New Mexico to the Salish in the rugged Northwest rain forest, documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty tribes. It took tremendous perseverance — ten years alone to persuade the Hopi to allow him into their Snake Dance ceremony. The undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate.

Eventually Curtis took more than 40,000 photographs, preserved 10,000 audio recordings, and is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. In the process, the charming rogue with the grade school education created the most definitive archive of the American Indian. His most powerful backer was Theodore Roosevelt, and his patron was J. P. Morgan. Despite the friends in high places, he was always broke and often disparaged as an upstart in pursuit of an impossible dream. He completed his masterwork in 1930, when he published the last of the twenty volumes. A nation in the grips of the Depression ignored it. Today rare Curtis photogravures bring high prices at auction, and he is hailed as a visionary. In the end he fulfilled his promise: He made the Indians live forever. (description from publisher)


In these spectacular photographs taken in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara Natural Reserve in Kenya, Anup Shah reveals African wildlife as never before, through the use of remote hidden cameras planted across the plains in Serengeti Spy.

Organized by season from January through December, here is life on the plains in all its dynamism and vitality. Readers find themselves literally face-to-face with hyenas and cheetahs as they feed on a kill; elephants communing at a watering hole; playful lion cubs; wildebeests hauling themselves out of a river; a leopard growling a warning; and inquisitive monkeys gazing at their reflections in the camera lens. Many of these animals have noticed the camera, to them an odd device that makes a strange clicking sound. Captions tell the story of the daily ebb and flow of life on the African plains.

These stunning photographs bring armchair travel to new level of up-close-and-personal in marvelous fashion.(description from publisher)


It’s that time of year again – great weather and important events have arrived! Graduations, weddings, reunions, holidays, vacations – they’re just around the corner.  Time to brush up on your photography skills so you can capture all those special moments.

There’s no better place to start than BetterPhoto Basics by Jim Miotke – whether you’re an enthusiastic amateur or an absolute beginner you’ll find lots of inspiration. The great thing about this book is that the majority of tips and ideas work with virtually any camera – Miotke even talks about using the camera on your iPhone! (proving once again that the best camera is the one you have with you) Tips are simple but effective – making the best use of available light, fill your frame with your subject, using the rule of thirds to compose a shot, checking the background. Throughout Miotke encourages creativity and experimenting – often simply looking at your world from a different angle can produce amazing shots. A series of simple photo assignments will help you apply these ideas. There’s even a chapter on easy fixes you can do with your photos on your computer.

Now there’s no more excuses for blurry, uninteresting photos – this book will fix those problems and make capturing memories fun!

Getting great pictures of your furry best friend just got easier – Kim Levin shows you all kinds of great tips and tricks on how to photograph your dog in PhoDOGraphy. Plus, the book is just fun to look at – it’s filled with fabulous pictures of all kinds of dogs from sweet and adorable, to kind and noble.

There’s a lot of good, basic photography skills explained here – using available light, framing the shot, choosing interesting settings and backgrounds, stopping action and composition. There’s also a lot of information that is particular to photographing dogs for instance, photographing black dogs so that you don’t lose the facial details and expressions. Tips are also included for photographing two or more dogs together, dogs with their people and dogs with cats. Special consideration is given for photographing puppies (high energy) vs older dogs (more sedate and dignified), and big dogs (need more room to feel comfortable) and small dogs (place them where you can be at their eye level)

Most of all, this book is about capturing the spirit and personality of that important and beloved member of the family, the dog.