Michael Light,

Pasatiempo - - Art -

con­ti­nent. The book is shot from a very high per­spec­tive. It’s a kind of ab­strac­tion and at­mo­spheric med­i­ta­tion.”

He is now at work on the next project in the se­ries, fo­cus­ing on the res­i­den­tial fringes of Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada. “I am not in­ter­ested in the iconog­ra­phy of the strip. I’m in­ter­ested in think­ing about the do­mes­tic de­sires of Las Ve­gas as man­i­fested in ar­chi­tec­ture. It’s Cal­i­for­nia on the cheap. Ob­vi­ously, the dream’s not hold­ing up so well, but there are many as­pects of that life that peo­ple have flocked to. Ve­gas is an easy thing to look down your nose at. It’s vul­gar. It’s cer­tainly not Santa Fe, go­ing back thou­sands of years, the an­tithe­sis of vul­gar. But then there’s noth­ing kitschy about one’s dream to make a bet­ter life for one­self.”

After suns and moons and gi­gan­tic smelter smoke­stacks, Light ap­pears to have shifted his lens to the do­mes­tic sphere. “Well, it’s evolv­ing. I think you can find the large in the small. That’s one of the fun things about work­ing in the arid West. There still is a lot of space. It’s plan­e­tary land­scape, not just ter­res­trial-scape, and I’m re­ally in­ter­ested in that, but at the same time, it’s very in­hab­ited.”

Although he em­pha­sized that he is not in­ter­ested in lec­tur­ing or con­demn­ing, Light’s work pre­sents ob­vi­ous prob­lems in terms of the hu­man on the land­scape. And in an in­ter­view in the book with Lawrence Weschler (Dis­tin­guished Writer in Res­i­dence at New York Univer­sity), Light ad­mits he’s “at­tracted to ide­al­ized pas­toral beauty.”

“Sure,” Light said, “I like Gal­is­teo as much as any­one else, but I think it’s in­ter­est­ing if you get above Gal­is­teo and see how it’s been torn to pieces, loved to death. On the ground, I want to stroll among those lovely oaks by the river, but up above I can pick out which bil­lion­aire has done what to the land­scape.”

The fact is that, like pho­tog­ra­pher Wil­liam Eg­gle­ston, Light has a demo­cratic sen­si­bil­ity. He would just as soon shoot a park­ing lot at Yosemite Na­tional Park as he would its spec­tac­u­lar wa­ter­falls. In high school, Light wor­shipped at the thrones of Ansel Adams and Ed­ward We­ston. Now he re­lates to a newer wave of pho­tog­ra­phers in­clud­ing Robert Adams and Eg­gle­ston, who have, in part, re­belled against por­tray­als of the pris­tine, the ideal.

“ LA Day/LA Night is kind of a cos­mic book, in a way. It’s about day and night and light and stars,” Light said. “The others are much more spe­cific. I’m re­ally in­ter­ested in try­ing to set Las Ve­gas or Phoenix into some con­text of the ge­ol­ogy that sur­rounds them. And that in­cludes beauty, the qual­ity of light and poignancy.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.