Conventional Wisdom

(Author) (Foreword by)

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$50.00  $46.50
Publish Date
10.4 X 0.9 X 11.1 inches | 3.4 pounds
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About the Author

Arthur Drooker is the author and photographer of American Ruins, Lost Worlds: Ruins of the Americas, and Pie Town Revisited. His work has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and has toured museums, including the Virginia Center of Architecture, and the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C. Drooker has also written, produced, and directed award-winning television documentaries. To see a selection of his work, please visit He lives in Mill Valley, California. James Wolcott is the culture critic for Vanity Fair. He has also written for Esquire, The New Yorker, and Harper's Magazine. His books include Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-Dirty in Seventies New York and Critical Mass: Four Decades of Essays, Reviews, Hand Grenades, and Hurrahs, which won the 2014 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. He lives in New York, New York.


"If Drooker chose the 10 conventions he attended with a view to their finery-and-freak-on potential... he seems a bit more sympathetic to the motivations of the attendees, and to their humanity, regardless of costume. His sharp eye and generosity of spirit both show clearly in the photographs reproduced"--John Prendergast "The Pennsylvania Gazette, October 27, 2016 "
In sameness there is wackiness. Over three years Arthur Drooker trekked around the U.S. to document extreme enthusiasts and true believers at conventions and trade shows, from ventriloquist gatherings to clown conclaves to bondage festivities. What seems amusing or bizarre to the uninitiated is comfort for cultists. "No longer an outsider," James Wolcott writes in his foreword, "you are, for a jolly day or two, a Lincoln among Lincolns, a Santa among Santas, a furry among furries high-fiving each other's paws. Yet you remain yourself, only more so."--Jack Crager "american PHOTO, September 14, 2016 "
Conventional Wisdom proves that regardless of what they're about, where they're held, or who attends them, all conventions satisfy a basic human urge: a longing to belong. Those who share similar interests, even obsessions, come together to be themselves, while forging new relationships and joining a larger community.--L'Oeil de la Photographie, September 19, 2016
What may have started out as a general curiosity of such quirky gatherings for Drooker has blossomed into something much more substantial for both him and his photography. Having a newfound respect and understanding for these convention goers Drooker has discovered that conventions are sanctuaries for the individuals who attend them.--Erica McGrath "Musée Magazine "
Revelling in taxidermy, getting together with your fellow mermaids and mermen, or championing the joy of My Little Pony, Drooker's images -- captured over a three year period -- document those free to indulge their curiosities without fear of being judged; fanatics living their lives exactly how they choose.--Francesca Soler "We Heart, December 19, 2016 "
"[Conventional Wisdom is a] new book that offers a sensitive exploration of 10 quirky and highly photogenic conventions."--Vicki Larson, Award-winning journalist and co-author of "The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels" "Marin Independent Journal "