Laurie Brown has long been fascinated with what happens at the edge of cities. In her pioneering, photographic work on Los Angeles, her focus was on the terraforming activities in that quintessential modern metropolis, where nature is literally scraped away and terraced to accommodate the most recent version of the American Dream: more roads and highways, more residential and commercial developments, more golf courses and city services, more pressure on the natural systems that undergird the city and region. It was only natural that Brown would turn her artistic attention to the eastern end of the Los Angeles corridor--Las Vegas--and she does so in full, living color.
Few other places engender such a common image of excess and extravagance as does Las Vegas. But Brown reminds us that what makes Las Vegas such an alluring place to live and to visit is its location in the austere but beautiful landscapes of North America's driest and sunniest region: the magnificent Mojave Desert. As Las Vegas has expanded, the contrast between the native desert and recent human terrain is a palpable fact that Brown captures brilliantly in her panoramic format. In each photograph we see the impact of our newest designs and constructions on the land, raising questions about the availability of scarce natural resources and, ultimately, the wisdom of our vision for the place.
By finding the interface between nature and culture that exists in these so-called paradisal environments, Laurie Brown takes us on a modern journey on a well-worn path in Western civilization: the pushing out of the city that emerged in ancient Greece and Rome and extended beyond the city walls of medieval Europe to today's political boundaries nestled beside nature's undeveloped frontier. But at what cost? Like the ruins of Pompeii, Brown's hauntingly beautiful photographs reveal how well (or not) we have created a modern American Eden: Las Vegas. (See the publishers website for a slide show and further information about the book: http://gftbooks.com/books_BrownLaurie.html ).
Publisher: George F. Thompson
Number of pages: 96
Weight: 1225 g
Dimensions: 389 x 234 x 15 mm
"Las Vegas Periphery" by photographer Laurie Brown with an Essay by Sally Denton is not a book about the famous Sin City. This one is VIEWS FROM THE EDGE with beautiful, full color photos printed one on each of the large format pages of this lovely photography book. The essayist grew up in the area and tells the history of the growth of this area of Nevada, which had only about 30 homesteaders in 1905 when the first railroad reached there. In 1931 Nevada legalized gambling, and that set the stage for enormous growth. These photographs honor the part of this vast desert that was not victim of the huge city. The desert is both beautiful and unrelenting and could at any moment destroy the city. This is a book you will want to own if you travel or live there.
Laurie Brown s panoramic photographs of Las Vegas, Nevada, reveal lush green grass, artificial waterways, and tropical palm trees set against a stark waterless desert landscape. For Brown, who has documented suburban spaces and the altered landscape for more than forty years, these easily overlooked peripheral areas where vulnerable wilderness meets encroaching suburban sprawl reveal the all-too-real paradoxes of life in the desert. Brown s engaging photographs ask us to consider how far Las Vegans will go to live in a place not intended for living and whether their desires to do so are, in the end, sustainable.Exhibit runs August 24 - November 3, 2013"