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USA. Manhattan, New York. 2010. Playing in a busted fire hydrant on the 4th of July.
USA. Manhattan, New York. 2010. Playing in a busted fire hydrant on the 4th of July.Peter van Agtmael—Magnum Photos
USA. Manhattan, New York. 2010. Playing in a busted fire hydrant on the 4th of July.
USA. Detroit, MI. 2012. Treasure's family at their home in Detroit. Shelley 'Treasure' Hilliard was murdered by a drug dealer after acting as a police informant following an arrest for marijuana possession. The police convinced her to act as an informant on her dealer and after she set him up, the police arrested him. They allegedly leaked her name to him for unclear reasons and released him several hours later. Within hours, Treasure was dead. Her case is part of a rash of murders of police informants as law enforcement increasingly relies on their use to apprehend criminals without exercising due diligence to protect them from revenge killings.
USA. Branson, Missouri. 2015. The parking lot of Dollie Parton’s Dixie Stampede.
USA. Bethesda, MD. 2013. My dad covers the master bedroom in plastic in preparation for a renovation.
USA. Bethesda, MD. 2015. My sister and niece Victoria and a bubble gun.
USA. Louisville, KY. 2015. Wyandotte, the neighborhood on the outskirts of Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby is held each year during the first weekend of May.  Taken during Derby weekend.
USA. Louisville, KY. 2015. Wyandotte, the neighborhood on the outskirts of Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby is held each year during the first weekend of May.  Taken during Derby weekend.
USA. Louisville, KY. 2015. The scene outside Churchill Downs after the Kentucky Derby.
USA.  Des Moines, Iowa.  2010.  The Iowa GOP Ronald Reagan dinner headlined by Sarah Palin.
USA. Louisville, Kentucky. 2016. During the Kentucky Derby.
USA.  Maryland. 2015. A member of the KKK after a cross lighting/burning.
USA. Brooklyn, New York. 2015. Washington Cemetery, a predominantly Jewish burial ground and the densest in New York City.
USA. Nashville, Tennessee. 2010.  The streets of Nashville.
USA. Detroit, MI. 2012. Treasure's family at their home in Detroit. Shelley 'Treasure' Hilliard was murdered by a drug dealer after acting as a police informant following an arrest for marijuana possession. The police convinced her to act as an informant on her dealer and after she set him up, the police arrested him. They allegedly leaked her name to him for unclear reasons and released him several hours later. Within hours, Treasure was dead. Her case is part of a rash of murders of police informants as law enforcement increasingly relies on their use to apprehend criminals without exercising due diligence to protect them from revenge killings.
USA. Detroit. Michigan. 2015. Dilapidated house in Detroit.
USA. Batiste, Oklahoma. 2014. The home of the grandmother of Joey Tom, an outreach director and stickball coach very active in the Choctaw nation.  His grandmother oversees well over a dozen children and grandchildren living with her.  She speaks some english but her primary language is Choctaw, a dying tradition.  None of her children speak it well.  She is also renowned as a tracker and a hunter.
USA. Molalla, Oregon. 2015. After the rodeo of the Molalla Buckeroo Association. One of the longest continuously running rodeos in the country, it began from the town's desire to celebrate the arrival of the train connecting it to the outside world.
USA. Manhattan, New York. 2010. Playing in a busted fire hydrant on the 4th of July.
Peter van Agtmael—Magnum Photos
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'An Acute Traumatic Journey Into American Society'

Mar 07, 2017

Buzzing at the Sill, the new book out by Peter Van Agtmael, is not to be missed.

It's a grim optic journey through America’s inner soul. This is not a comfort photo book. Through his use of the visual complexities of life, Peter has, in essence, exposed America’s inner raw nerves — nerves that are frayed at the edges.

As a viewer I feel the scrapping of a razor blade on my conscience, a true uneasiness starts to overcome my senses with his images. All through his metamorphic symbolism, of visual sequencing and story telling, he takes you on a acute traumatic journey into American society, with a relentless attack on your senses.

I’m not writing any of this lightly, for I’ve spent years traveling across America, attempting to capture with a honest photographic anthropological style. Always looking for symbolism that can convey a deeper message, a message of the mood of the nation, during that time period. Constantly looking for these moments with photographs that could stand the test of time. Looking for timeless photography for generations to look back and feel, through these images, a time and a place. Attempting to achieve this without the use of visual gimmickry. This is why I’m so taken back by Peter’s work: he has succeeded where I have tried.

He has succeeded through his earlier books, 2nd Tour I Hope I Don’t Die and Disco Night Sept. 11. And he has succeeded now with Buzzing at the Sill, which could form the latest opus in his American Trilogy.

Buzzing at the Sill is a dirty, dark and real study of America, offering up slivers of time that expose the diversity of the current American condition. Strange life layers, with their complexities of meaning. It’s all here to see. Providing a clearer view of an American Identity.

Buzzing at the Sill is a true timeless masterpiece.

Scenes from medevacs, helicopters that pick up wounded soldiers in Iraq
A flight medic rests and watches TV while waiting for a mission in the medevac section of FOB Falcon. The medevacs are usually off the ground within ten minutes of an emergency call coming in. Their quick reaction time to injuries is a large part of the reason the 95% of American soldiers that make it to the hospital end up surviving their wounds.Peter van Agtmael—Magnum
Scenes from medevacs, helicopters that pick up wounded soldiers in Iraq
A flight medic rests and watches TV while waiting for a mission in the medevac section of FOB Falcon. The medevacs are
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Peter van Agtmael—Magnum
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Christopher Morris is an award-winning TIME contract photographer since 1990 and is a founding member of the VII photo agency. He is the author of My America and Americans.

Natalie Matutschovsky, who edited this photo essay, is a senior photo editor at TIME.

Peter van Agtmael is a photojournalist represented by Magnum Photos. His latest book, Buzzing at the Sill, is available now on Amazon. (Read TIME’s affiliate link policy.)

TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.