"When I bring to mind my favorite photobooks, what I usually think about isn’t an author’s name or a specific picture, but a mix of sensual impressions. It might sound hippie-ish, but my favorite books have an aura. One of the most radiant examples is Nancy Rexroth’s IOWA. Thinking of that book is like recalling a dream – simultaneously dark and light, vivid and blurred, and wrapped in cotton-candy (or is it Pepto-Bismol) clouds of pink. Even the book’s title seems like a dream.
I hope that readers of IOWA will acknowledge the book's influence and importance. Perhaps they will consider the technical role of her use of the Diana camera or the relationship of her work to that of more celebrated artists like Francesca Woodman and Sally Mann. But when I think of this fantastic book, my first response is more emotional than intellectual. For me, IOWA is a state of mind."
—Alec Soth for Charcoal Book Club
In the early 1970s, Nancy Rexroth began photographing the rural landscapes, children, white frame houses, and domestic interiors of southeastern Ohio with a plastic toy camera called the Diana. Working with the camera’s properties of soft focus and vignetting, and further manipulating the photographs by deliberately blurring or sometimes overlaying them, Rexroth created dreamlike, poetic images of “my own private landscape, a state of mind.” She called this state IOWA because the photographs seemed to reference her childhood summer visits to relatives in Iowa. Rexroth self-published her evocative images in 1977 in the book IOWA, and the photographic community responded immediately and strongly to the work. Aperture published a portfolio of IOWA images in a special issue, The Snapshot, alongside the work of Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, and Emmet Gowin. The International Center for Photography, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution included IOWA images in group exhibitions.
Forty years after its original publication, IOWA has become a classic of fine art photography, a renowned demonstration of Rexroth’s ability to fashion a world of surprising aesthetic possibilities using a simple, low-tech dollar camera. Long out of print and highly prized by photographers and photobook collectors, IOWA is now available in a hardcover edition that includes twenty-two previously unpublished images. Accompanying the photographs are a new foreword by Magnum photographer and book maker Alec Soth and an essay by internationally acclaimed curator Anne Wilkes Tucker, who affirms the continuing power and importance of IOWA within the photobook genre. New postscripts by Nancy Rexroth and Mark L. Power, who wrote the essay in the first edition, complete the volume.