The New American West

1990 - present

The “American West” is a combination of myth and reality. In the early 21st Century this vast expanse of land remains much as it was centuries ago, but signs of human presence are pervasive.  Remnants of the old west still exist in the form of old motel signs, cowboys, Indians and trading posts that all allude to an era long gone. Today many of these cultural icons are informed by newer changes to the landscape.

The West is marked by man in subtle and not so subtle ways. Humans show our presence even in our absence.  We impact the land and in turn impact the landscape of our own psyches. High voltage electric transmission lines march into the empty distance, silent, unless one stands under them and hears the crackling of the electricity traveling from one place to another. Armies of trucks transport goods across the country, rolling over countless miles of highways. The arrows implanted in the earth along old Route 66 have fallen short of their target, which was once the pony express, but now Federal Express. 

This predominantly “empty” land is filled with a treasure trove of visual hints about our past and present.  My solitary journey over nearly 30 years seeking these images has often taken me far off the beaten path and led to a variety of unexpected surprises captured in the nearly 100 photographs in this body of work. 

Images from The New American West are in numerous private collections and are included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, Joaquim Paiva Collection, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil SA, The Crawford Hotel, Union Station, Denver, CO and The Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Denver, CO.