By Eric Sandweiss
Oxford University Press, $39.95, 237 pages
He is not a famous artist; his work does not hang in famous museums or galleries. You will never find his work among the greatest photographers, yet he played an important role in capturing the heart and soul of America. His name was Charles Cushman, and he was just an average American who loved photography, loved to travel, and always had his color camera with him. While many professionals disdained color photography, Cushman embraced the medium, using it to catalog his travels across the country with one of the first color photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge. But his photographs capture something more; they capture an America that is changing between and after the wars, from a regional identity to a more common national identity with similar looking highways, suburbs and skyscrapers. Cushman captures an America that is turning more into itself and away from each other, embracing the automobile and moving out of the city. These photographs capture neighborhoods before they change forever. His photographs capture the soul of America before it is taken away by the need for speed.
Reviewed by Kevin Winter