Not all suburbs in America consist of tree-lined streets, cookie-cutter homes, shiny cars, and swimming pools. But this is the utopian vision of suburbia that has been cemented in the public conscience since the postwar era. During that time, G.I. Bill of Right benefits and low housing costs lured Americans to newly developed communities outside of cities. While ads and sitcoms like The Brady Bunch romanticized the suburban lifestyle as a realization of the American Dream, critics condemned suburbia as the embodiment of a society at its most stifling, unoriginal, and homogenous.
Photographers, too, looked beyond city streets to explore the landscape and faces of suburbia—and continue to do so today. One of the first was the legendary William Eggleston, who found beauty in the banality of his Southern hometown in the 1970s; more recently, photographers Larry Sultan and Laura Migliorino have challenged the suburbs’ stock depictions in the media and popular culture. The picture-perfect, if superficial, suburban stereotypes have also inspired a slew of horror flicks and suspenseful dramas—think Disturbia, Desperate Housewives, and Stranger Things—and chilling cinematic images of domestic life by Gregory Crewdson and Holly Andres.