Death of the American Dream – Lauren Greenfield

I’m not sure whether the photos here just don’t fly past too quick to take them in. One or two of them were really urging me to stop and think, but before I could get my brain whirring we were somewhere else.

That said this is really strong work in lots of ways and respect to Lauren for putting it out there in this way. This was originally shot as a magazine story, and there is also a slide show here.

Author — duckrabbit

duckrabbit is a production company formed by radio producer/journalist Benjamin Chesterton and photographer David White. We specialize in digital storytelling.

Discussion (7 Comments)

  1. Tom says:

    Indeed, this is a very, very good show, well done images from what I can gather, but I too would really like the slide-show to have moved a bit slower to digest the “story” and I feel it would have been much better told that way.

  2. LolaBGood says:

    The saddest part of the story is that no one questions whether or not “owning a home” is a worthwhile dream. Surely the real American dream is about much more than simply possessing a home. It is about providing for a family while still having the time to be with them, having the ability to live freely according to one’s beliefs and allowing your children to have an even better life than you have. A home in an exurb at the best of times ensured that the parents would have such long commutes that they had little time to spend with their family, and thus their children would grow up without much quality time with their parents, that parents would be stressed out and feeling trapped as opposed to free since they need to commute a long way to a job that they can’t afford to lose without losing their home, etc. What’s wrong with renting or living in a small home if that’s the best way to afford to live the American dream?

  3. Frank Evers says:

    Thanks for the feedback. This was originally shot as a magazine story, and there is also a slide show (with solid captions) at

    So, the images have also been presented in a way which provides more time for context, contemplation and better understanding of the underlying story.

    I hear what you are saying about the multimedia piece, but the purpose is not to present a slideshow on vimeo, but create something which is more akin to a short documentary (without spending a ton of money :-)). They cut it all together into a (hopefully) compelling and moving piece, which tells a larger story about foreclosures in this particular area, through the voices and images of the homes and people who were affected.

    Anyway, I am just glad that you saw it and appreciate the support. This piece has been wallowing in obscurity since last year, when Lauren shot the story for GQ, and thanks to an online shout-out by Amy Stein, it’s been getting more face time.



    • duckrabbit says:

      Hi Frank … I hear what you are saying but there’s a real danger photographers go for very quick editing and we as a viewer lose the ability to pause and appreciate the work.

      I guess that quickfire effects works brilliantly as a promo but perhaps loses some of the depth of the work.

  4. Frank Evers says:

    No doubt, some people will find some of the editing fast. Can’t please everyone 🙂

    That said, I think that it works and gets the story across as a doc. If you saw some of the docs I just watched in Sundance, you’d go crazy with how fast they use photos for storytelling. It is a process, and each story is different and the requirements of photos change.

    Which is why the multi-platform approach is such a key part of our strategy of getting in-depth work to the viewers. Slideshows, magazine articles, multimedia pieces, even radio…(more on this to come).

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback. Love the site!



  5. David White says:

    Great work. Lauren’s pictures can handle the fast pace due to their refreshing clarity imo.
    Having said that, I’m now off to look at them slowly..:)

  6. I don’t mind the quick images, because they’re cut to the beat of the music which is a very powerful device.
    I think some of the images were perhaps a bit repetitive though, there could have been more natural sound and a stronger narrative. But as Ben says, as a promo piece this hits the nail in style and content. Like it!

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