Las Vegas Periphery: Views from the Edge

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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 )

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781938086014
  • Publisher: International Publishers Marketing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/15/2013
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 15.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

LAURIE BROWN is a photographer from Newport Coast, California, whose photographs are in the permanent collections of the Center for Creative Photography, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, New Orleans Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Santa Barbara Museum of Art, among others. She has had one-person and group exhibitions at numerous institutions, including the California Museum of Photography, Irvine Fine Arts Center, Laguna Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Nevada Museum of Art, Palm Springs Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Sezon Museum in Tokyo. Her first book of photographs, Recent Terrains: Terraforming the American West, was published in 2000 by the Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Center for American Places.

SALLY DENTON is an investigative reporter and writer whose books include The Money and Power: The Making of Las Vegas and its Hold on America (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001), which was made into a documentary film broadcast on the History Channel, American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857 (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003), Faith and Betrayal: A Pioneer Woman's Passage in the American West (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006), Passion and Principle: John and Jessie Fremont, the Couple Whose Power, Politics and Love Shaped Nineteenth-Century America (Bloomsbury, 2007) and The Plots Against the President: FDR, a Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of American Right (Bloomsburg, 2012). Denton received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2006 and was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 2008.

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