Driftless: Photographs From Iowa

Danny Wilcox Frazier

Danny Wilcox Frazier’s dramatic black-and-white photographs portray a changing Midwest of vanishing towns and transformed landscapes. As rural economies fail, people, resources, and services are migrating to the coasts and cities, as though the heart of America were being emptied. Frazier’s photographs take us into Iowa’s abandoned places and illuminate the lives of those people who stay behind and continue to live there: young people at leisure, fishermen on the Mississippi, veterans on Memorial Day, Amish women playing cards, as well as more recent arrivals: Lubavitcher Hasidic Jews at prayer, Latinos at work in the fields.

Selected by Robert Frank to win the 2006 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

“Driftless is Frazier’s document about rural Iowa. His home. . . .Years of working, walking, photographing, carefully making notes, names, places. . . . Passionate photographs without sentimentality. . . . his work reaches out: let me tell your story, it is important. Frazier’s work will survive—his book will be the foundation for more to come.”
Robert Frank, from his foreword

“Soon, these towns will disappear off maps, fade from the pages of old books. Soon, a few photographs—a few exquisite images captured on film—will be all that remain to remind us that they ever existed. . . . I know the town of Hills sits just east of the highway, and I can’t help but think of Frazier’s stunning photograph of a lone farmhouse, locked in snowy silence, the only sign of life the smoke spiriting from the chimney and the barn light casting long shadows across the field. But tonight, even the faint lights of Hills flickering to life are nothing more than ghosts in the mist.”
Ted Genoways, Mother Jones

“Frazier knows firsthand the economic and cultural struggles currently playing out in the Midwest. The black-and-white images poignantly capture the tension of lives in transition. . . . The seemingly careless framing of Frazier’s photographs shares the same poetic grittiness of [Robert] Frank’s in that it sets up a subconscious tension in the viewer.”
Mary Anne Redding, photo-eye Magazine

Driftless: Photographs From Iowa
80 Duotone photographs
Duke University Press and CDS Books of the Center for Documentary Studies
Publication Year: 
Number Of Pages: 
9.25" x 12.25"