file under: #suburbs #mountain #desert #usa #human design
“Steven B. Smith won the prize for his intelligent choice of a subject hidden in full view that is of paramount importance. His work is by turns humorous and piteous, elegiac and ironic, and cumulatively very powerful for he has shaped an essay from aesthetically elegant, delicately nuanced pictures that are pitch perfect, in the spirit of the American West and in keeping with its long history of fine photographs.”—Maria Morris Hambourg
In compelling black-and-white photographs, The Weather and a Place to Live portrays the surreal intersection of suburbia and desert in California, Utah, Nevada, and Colorado, where sprawling suburbs are reconfiguring what was once vast unpopulated territory.
With concision and an unblinking eye, Smith shows how a new frontier is being won, and suggests too how it may be lost in its very emergence. These altered landscapes force us to consider the consequences of human design battling natural forces across great expanses in which nature becomes both inspiration and invisible adversary. Smith’s elegant photographs of this constructed universe confront us with the beauty of images as images, yet push us to reflect on the devastation possible in the simple act of choosing a place to live.
Steven B. Smith is a photographer whose work chronicles the transition of the Western landscape into suburbia. For this work he was awarded the First Book Prize for Photography by the Honickman Foundation and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. His book, The Weather and a Place to Live: Photographs of the Suburban West, was published by Duke University Press in 2005. He has received numerous grand and awards, including Guggenheim, Kittredge and RISCA fellowships. His work has been widely exhibited and can be found in many public collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Smith received a BFA from Utah State University and an MFA from Yale. He is a professor of photography at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2015, his second monograph, Waiting out the Latter Days,was published by TIS Press.