The American Dream Series, 1979, is a portfolio of seven unique collages. Fessler photographed empty campsites with black and white film, hand colored the prints, and inserted people and furniture cut from the Life magazines of her childhood. Having completed an MA degree in Media Studies/Media Literacy in 1975, Fessler had already been examining the methods of representing women that dominated her childhood from a theoretical perspective, but she had not previously approached the subject in her photographic work.
Fessler initially conceptualized the collages as a commentary on the campsites where she stayed in her travels throughout the west. Struck by the number of creature comforts campers brought with them while attempting to get away from it all, she wanted to poke fun at this phenomenon. As the first image took shape, she realized the characters she had inserted were representations of her own family. The series was her first autobiographical work and the beginning of her interest in appropriating images to comment on the role of the media in creating and perpetuating stereotypes.
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American Dream Series by Ann Fessler, 1979
Medium: 7 Unique collages; hand colored silver prints, approximately 9” by 13” on 11” x 14” photo paper; applied figures and furniture
In 2014, an edition of 10 giclée prints was generated from the one-of-a-kind American Dream Series collages; print size approximately 12” x 18.5” on 17” x 22” archival paper
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