Documentary Photographer Dotan Saguy is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay.  From the series ‘Arrested Dream, American Decay’.  To see Dotan’s body of work, click on any image.



In his 1931 book “Epic of America” James Truslow Adams coined the phrase “American Dream” and defined it as “a dream of a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”




The gold rush town of Bodie helped pioneer the American Dream. In 1879 it was one of the largest communities in California, with a population comparable to that of Los Angeles of that time. Only a few years later, opportunities in Bodie evaporated, forcing its denizens to hastily abandon their belongings and their dreams. In 1962 the State of California took over the ghost town and coined the term “arrested decay” to assert how it would preserve Bodie. 



Today, just like Bodie, the American Dream is being kept in a state of arrested decay. Campaigning politicians use the iconic phrase to drum up support, but—once elected—fail to enact policies that would make it realizable. Access to education, home ownership, healthcare, healthy food and water, reproductive rights, and a proper living wage is still elusive to a large swath of the American population. 




Saguy uses reflections in the windows of Bodie’s frail surviving structures as a metaphor for the state of the American Dream. 

The wavy antique glass reflections of scarred mining landscapes represent the flawed opportunities in today’s society, while the dusty and broken interiors stand in for the growing number of households left out of the American Dream. A first-generation college graduate and immigrant, Saguy worries about the future of the American Dream. Having trained as a computer-science engineer, he fears that artificial intelligence will soon eviscerate the working class, putting the American Dream even further out of reach.





All images and text © Dotan Saguy



See also:

Nowhere to go but Everywhere 

Book By Dotan Saguy





Edge of Humanity Magazine is an independent nondiscriminatory platform that has no religious, political, financial, or social affiliations.

We are committed to publishing the human condition, the raw diverse global entanglement, with total impartiality.


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