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Photo Book

Photographer: George Tice
By George Tice, Sue Bender, Millen Brand
Publisher: David R. Godine
Publication date: 1998
Print length: 180 pages
Language: English
Price Range:
Photographer George Tice and novelist and poet Millen Brand illuminate the history and lives of the Pennsylvania German sects, primarily the Amish and the Mennonites, who continue to live lives of determined simplicity and agrarian focus.

A welcome, dramatically updated reissue of a classic photo-essay originally published in 1970, this portrait of the Amish and Mennonite Pennsylvania German communities is a treasure for lovers of photography and Americana. In a new afterword describing his 1990 return trip to the region, Tice notes that he found the simplicity-loving way of life of these self-reliant folk still largely intact. This revised edition features 39 new photographs and a duotone format that adds warmth and intimacy to the wonderfully evocative pictures, inviting one to linger over such scenes as a horse and buggy silhouetted against open sky, an auction, a prayer meeting, kids with wide-brimmed hats playing in the snow, sheep enveloped in fog and pristine farmhouses. Tice's spare, quiet, yet stunning photos capture an underlying sense of order and purpose. Novelist/screenwriter Brand, who died in 1980, was on intimate terms with the Pennsylvania Germans (often mistakenly called "Pennsylvania Dutch"). His perceptive text examines their deeply ingrained customs: independent small farming (in some areas, tobacco is the cash crop); aversion to government and secretive courtships; and evening get-togethers for singing and storytelling. Brand records uninhibited conversations with a foundry worker, a beekeeper, a horse trader, an international medical volunteer. The whole album exudes an inner radiance, managing to transcend idyllic sentimentality to become a sociological document.
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