The Oxford Project - Portraits of small-town life

In May, 1984, Peter Feldstein, a native New Yorker and art professor at the University, invited the 693 residents of his new hometown, Oxford, Iowa, to be photographed. He asked them to come dressed “as you are” and to stand in any way they chose, against a wrinkled construction tarp. By late summer, 670 residents had been photographed and the following spring Feldstein displayed their photos in the Oxford American Legion Hall.

Twenty years later, Feldstein, decided to re-shoot the residents

of Oxford. This time, he joined forces with UI journalism professor Stephen Bloom, who interviewed the photo subjects and compiled first-person vignettes from their conversations. The results were published in The Oxford Project (Welcome Books, 2008).

Spectator@IOWA talked with Feldstein (in the video below, left) and Bloom (right) about the experience of photographing and interviewing the citizens of Oxford, Iowa.

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video by
Kirk Murray

From The Oxford Project published by Welcome Books. Photographs © 2008 Peter Feldstein. Text © 2008 Stephen G. Bloom. Preface © 2008 Gerald Stern.

© The University of Iowa 2009