Artist: Kate Schermerhorn
Title: Food Court, Mall of America, Minnesota
Medium: Gelatin silver print
Size: 25 x 20 cm
Misc: Signed, titled, numbered
Kate Schermerhorn was born in New York in 1966 and raised in Malibu, California. She began photographing at age six. . .
Kate studied photography with Joel Sternfeld at Sarah Lawrence College. She graduated in 1989 and has since lived and worked in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Florence, Italy and from 1995 has lived in London. Kate's four year old son Sacha has been by her side during much of the making of this book. He now carries a camera of his own.
America's Idea of a Good Time is Kate's first book. She is currently working on her second book which deals with the idiosyncrasies of Los Angeles.
America's Idea of a Good Time
Americans do a lot of things in the name of fun. We shoot each other with paint, we bungee jump, and we pretend to bungee jump. We play bingo and we bowl, we fish, we hit golf balls through clown heads and miniature churches. We even stack Oreo Cookies. America's Idea of a Good Time is a collection of 30-40 black and white photographs with text by Simon Winchester (author of The Surgeon of Crowthorne) examining these endless searches for fun.
I've spent much of the past year carting my toddler son around the country, trying to figure out what Americans do for fun and exactly why. I intend to show him the country for another year while completing the book.
Some of the places we've been and fun things I've discovered so far were:
Monster cars, demolition derbies, and tractor pulls; I found that some of us wholeheartedly enjoy our machines.
We frequented amusement parks and family fun centers. I discovered that we really like our fun clearly labeled.
We spent a long afternoon at an RV park. I found that with as many modern conveniences as possible, we'll definitely have one heck of a good time.
We've visited bowling alleys and miniature golf, roller rinks, virtual worlds and waterslide parks and I deduced that manmade fun is the funnest. Plastic is fun. As a matter of fact, I've found out that there are more Barbie Dolls than Americans.
I've discovered that life is not about expanding our minds or learning life's lessons, it's about bumper stickers; it's about being the one to die with the most toys meaning you've won.
America's Idea of a Good Time will explore my findings and my enduring questions in this collection of photographs depicting our endless attempts at having a good time.
This book is an observation of my culture and a way of pointing out a few of the things I have noticed and been lucky enough to see. It has also been a vehicle for showing my own child that he has a right to pursue happiness and though his search for it should be made thoughtfully, it should also be made wholeheartedly.
"Kate Schermerhorn's pictures have wit and charm. Sometimes their irony can be frightening. They take us on a fascinating journey through the rich gamut of America's idea of a "good time".
Mary Ellen Mark
"Kate Schermerhorn works within the tradition of great American photography to show the surreal underbelly of the USA."
"America's Idea of a Good Time is a quirky and affectionate take on Americans at play. Kate Schermerhorn shows us the weird and wonderful world of leisure."
Nick Hall, The Independent on Saturday Magazine
"A timely and original book...America's Idea of a Good Time is endearing, and eccentric. The photographer supplies the irony, and has the sense to apply it very lightly.
This is a collection of photographs which sums up the end of the twentieth century better than thousands of words of analysis could have done."
Francis Hodgson, Special Photographer's Gallery