Peter Bacon Hales

Looking At America

This is probably the next book to appear.  It's an interlocked narrative of essays, observations and pictures that look closely at the everyday spaces and places in recent America, unpacking them for their richness and complexity.  It draws from decades spent wandering the United States with a camera and a notebook;  for many of those years I was the Director of the American Studies Institute at the University of Illinois, Chicago, a State Department-funded program for international teachers, curriculum writers, textbook authors and ministry of education specialists, who came for immersive courses in American culture and life. Weeks spent on the road-- after 9/11, traveling by tour bus, as getting 30 international visitors, many of them Muslim, many African, nearly all with unusual-looking passports, accents, haircuts, and suitcases, through airport security became impossible. Long days on the bus required that I provide on-the-spot commentaries wherever the bus might travel, and especially where it might stop.  The rich trove of knowledge, and the necessity for storytelling, provided the basis for much of the writing in this collection.

A Selection of Photographs 

Camper van used as home, parked in long-term cruise-line parking, Port of Los Angeles, 2011

peter bacon hales: photographs