The website is a little tricky, but all the pictures there are well worth viewing. Twice. The backgrounder essay is also interesting. It explains, among other things, the otherwise somewhat incongruous picture of "Boots" Hern with her gun (no. 9 of 63 at the website link).
The book is currently in "Steidlimbo": first edition out of print, second edition patiently awaiting its turn on Steidl's only press. (I'll let you know.)
There's no way to contact Mitch Epstein, apparently, but he might be interested in the book Edison and the Electric Chair: A Story of Light and Death by Mark Essig, as an amplification of his picture of the electric chair known as "Old Sparky" (picture no. 56 of 63). The electric chair itself was a sort of macabre PR gimmick in the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse for control of the electricity market in the 1880s in New York; Edison, a proponent of direct current (DC), promoted the electric chair to emphasize his competitive advantage over Westinghouse's alternating current (AC), which was apparently electrocuting innocent citizens by accident right and left in its early days. (Westinghouse won in the end anyway.)
Mitch Epstein calls himself an "energy tourist" in his essay, at least in the context of this epic project. He is of course a classic, committed documentary photographer in the grand tradition.
ADDENDUM: It seems a large proportion of readers are complaining about the website, but I'd still advise you to persevere to see the pictures. It's not that bad...and it's worth it.
Note: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. More...
Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.