Over the past six years, photographer Mark Power has travelled across the US to create a complex visual narrative of a country in the midst of change. This new book, Good Morning, America (Volume One), represents a personal and timely exploration of both the American cultural and physical landscape, and the divergence of reality and myth.
Good Morning, America (Volume One) is the first in a series of five books by Power, created as the result of this ongoing 10-year project, as he meanders back and forth across the vast country, taking long walks through towns and cities along the way.
‘For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to explore America, an ambition fuelled by the legion of TV shows that crossed the Atlantic in the 1960s. As a young and impressionable child, I devoured ‘The Man from Uncle’ and’ The Fugitive’, but it was the westerns, evoking a landscape utterly removed from the congested English suburbs surrounding me, that I loved most… I began – although I may not have realised it at the time – to subconsciously search for the America which lived in my imagination, the one generated during childhood, the one that had probably never existed at all.’
Most lengthy photographic surveys of the States, with Robert Frank being the most notable exception, have been made by Americans: Walker Evans, Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld. Power’s perspective, on the other hand, is as a foreigner, travelling to and from America on multiple occasions, thus allowing a mental and physical distance.
The seeds of Power’s ambitious project began in 2012 when he became involved in ‘Postcards from America’ – an initiative by a group of photographers and friends who wanted to make an immediate response to what was happening in the US. They worked and travelled together, mounting pop-up exhibitions to interact with local audiences and sharing the work through publishing. He went on to join two further Postcards projects but had larger aspirations for the scope and longevity of his work in the US. Power’s five-year project in Poland, The Sound of Two Songs (2004-2009), was a precedent to Good Morning, America, which is by far the most ambitious the photographer has made to date.”
As if in tribute to America’s vastness and culture, the resulting photographs are cinematic and epic in format. Power aims to finish the project in 2022, covering the whole of Obama’s second term, Trump’s first, and the start of whoever comes next.