Americana: Reviewed for Readers’ Favorite—By Philip Van Heusen

That a picture is worth a thousand words is a truism that cannot be denied. In 'Americana: A Photographic Journey,' Mathew Tekulsky has gathered 125 images from across America. Each photo has a story to tell. For example, the photograph of Nathan’s Original at Coney Island brings to mind hotdog eating contests. It also reminds us of the thousands of beach-goers that have eaten at this iconic eatery. With the value of a photo so high, this book is worth 125,000 words and thousands of dollars. Don’t just buy this book, flip through its pages, and then put it away on a shelf. Revel in the imagery. Imagine the history of each item depicted. Use your imagination’s eye to see the people eating at the diner or standing in line somewhere. How did the old car become a fixture of the landscape? This book is a delight to the visual senses.

The United States has almost 250 years of history. If you count the time before we became our own country, the years extend beyond our imagination. Within our boundaries, the population and cultures are diverse. Mathew Tekulsky has carried his camera around the land (especially the Northeast and California), taking snapshots of Americana. These pictures capture the spirit of our nation so well that he named the book 'Americana.' What could be more iconic of America than a NY Yankee’s game photograph? Pictures are more fun than words because they allow your imagination to run wild. Every time you peruse this book, you can create a new story from what the picture may evoke. One day you can look at the photo of Nathan’s Original and imagine you are eating one of their famous frankfurters. The next time you can imagine digging into the steamed clams. This book gives you a flight of fancy each time you look through it.

Philip Van Heusen Review for Readers’ Favorite

“In Complements, Patricia Z. Smith recognizes the value and diversity of little things. Her photographs complement her words. Both her words and images cause the reader to pause and reflect. Most people pass over small items, but Patricia celebrates them. A shell, a broken piece of a statue, a moth, and more are just a few of the everyday things that are elevated to philosophers in this book. The simple and mundane become the voice of learning and thinking. Patricia makes sure the reader takes the time to analyze each picture to figure out its life meaning. We need to stop overlooking the small and give them their due respect. Some of the words and photos will resonate with your life, while others might leave you asking, “So what?”

Society loves the big and the dramatic. But, for the most part, people ignore the small and familiar. Patricia Z. Smith recognizes the value of the commonplace in her book Complements. Patricia’s writing style is enigmatic at times, and it is almost in your face at other times. For example, she stages her photographs using items many people can find lying around their house, collecting dust. Yet, she recognizes and shares the beauty of the mundane. Even if you are not into art, you will enjoy the combination of photographs and text. You may see even more than Patricia shares if you take your time. The pictures might have a special message just for you. As the old saying states, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” so what you take from this work of art will depend on your eyes.” —Philip Van Heusen for Readers’ Favorite

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