Mitch Epstein (born 1952) is among America’s finest contemporary photographers. Two of the most powerful series upon which his reputation rests are Recreation (1973-1988) and American Power (2003), sequences that attempt to make fundamental statements about the U.S. by scrutinizing how its citizens spend their leisure and how its energy industry operates. This publication examines the development of Epstein’s work through the example of these two very different series. Recreation exemplifies traditional American street photography in its sometimes ironized depiction of everyday circumstances, where American Power critiques the energy industry and its interventions in nature in much bolder gestures–cooling towers and oil refineries dominate the picture frame, riding roughshod over all rules of proportion and dwarfing anything in their vicinity. Here, in 80 color images selected from these series, Epstein’s development is traced, from major protagonist of the American color photography boom to leading commentator on the state of the nation.