In the summer of 1993 I was studying photography, roaming back country roads in search of subjects. I wanted to make pictures that captured something of the strangeness of my personal experience, having lived in Iowa most of my life. After photographing a small circus that toured the small towns, I started hanging around the county fair and rodeo queen pageants that dot the landscape at that time of year.
I became interested in the iconoclastic photographers of the 50s and 60s, including Diane Arbus, Robert Frank and Gary Winogrand. Their pictures of American life presented a stark contrast to imagery shown in mainstream media of the day.
That project from 1993 came to be called American Beauty, and documented popular events at the intersection of women and the judgement of beauty. 25 years later the subject is as relevant as ever.