American Colour
American Colour

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Millennium Images are pleased to present a gallery of images focusing on American Colour taken from our extensive library. The gallery includes images from a number of our most prominent contributors including Michael Ormerod, Kent Baker, Lydia Panas, Marcus Doyle and Luke Hayes. The introductory text by Neil Campbell, Professor of American Studies at the university of Derby, U.K offers an insightful look at the historical significance of American colour photography.

Jean Baudrillard wrote ‘I was here in my imagination long before I actually came here’ (America 1986: 72) and as we look at these images of the USA one is struck endlessly by a similar sensation of dreamy recognition; of half-remembered movies, Edward Hopper paintings, country songs, and Beat novels. Yet this dreamscape is counter-posed by a critical regionalist consciousness that scrutinizes the imagined place and interrupts the dreaming with an awakening sense of other, more complex forces of history and culture co-existing within the frame. If this work is photocinematic, then what we have are film stills fragmented out of the flow of the total movie and supplemented by visual interruptions that challenge comfortable notions of mythic completion and closure.

A solitary teenager stands on the edge of the road, about to cross, but paused for a moment, blowing a bubble with her gum. This is a suspended moment, captured in the intense, dreamy blue colour that saturates the image with the girl picked out in sharp focus fully absorbed by her ‘childish’ action whilst the ‘adult’ world of fast food outlets and truck-stops is distanced and blurred in the background. Her glasses in hand, her vision is focused only on the moment, detached and separated from the world to come, as if she is in her own ‘bubble’ too, on the threshold of the world she is crossing into. The intensity of colour and the quotidian details of the everyday that recur in these photographs re-state America as an uncanny hybrid of dream and loss, innocence and experience, past and present captured and colliding in the extraordinary framing of time and motion.


Neil Campbell has published widely in American Studies and is co-editor of Issues on Americanisation and Culture. He has published articles on John Sayles, Terrence Malick, Robert Frank, J.B. Jackson, Wim Wenders, D.J. Waldie and many others. His most prominent work is an interdisciplinary trilogy of books on the contemporary American West. These include The Cultures of the American New West (Edinburgh, 2000), The Rhizomatic West (Nebraska, 2008) and Post-Westerns: Cinema, Region, West (Nebraska, 2013). His new project is a book series Place, Memory, Affect with Rowman Littlefield International and a volume within it, Affective Critical Regionality (due 2015).

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