Peter Brown On the Plains

01

Controlled Burn, High Island, Texas, 1988

02

Railroad Sheds, Newcastle, Wyoming, 1987

03

Pecan Salesman, Apache, Oklahoma, 1986

04

Entrance to Ardmore, Ardmore, Oklahoma, 1988

05

K-Mart, Durango, Colorado, 1988

06

Grain Elevators, Hartley, Texas, 1985

07

Red Dirt Road and Hawk, Southern Oklahoma, 1986

08

Community Sign, Buffalo Gap, South Dakota, 1993

09

Aquifer Lake, Sand Hills, Rushville, Nebraska, 1993

10

City Hall, Allensville, Kansas, 1989

11

Dirt Road and Sky, Mullinsville, Kansas, 1991

12

Shot of Light, Oglala National Grasslands, Nebraska, 1991

13

Sisters Walking, Big Bow, Kansas, 1991

14

Church, Champions Corners, Colorado, 1995

15

Snow and Hoarfrost, Edgerton, Wyoming, 1991

16

Rolling Bales, Miles City, Montana, 1985

17

White Barn, Mountain, Park, Oklahoma, 1987

18

HAC Brummett, Lawyer, Dickens, Texas, 1986

19

Dimmitt Meat Company, Dimmitt, Texas, 1992

20

Trace Road, Casper, Wyoming, 1990

I’ve photographed on the High Plains of the western United States for the past twenty-five years or so, first as a part of a long-term study of the western High Plains that culminated in a book called On the Plains.  And then more recently in a more geographically circumscribed way – the work I did for the forthcoming Llano Estacado: Island in the Sky, and also for West of Last Chance, a collaboration with the novelist Kent Haruf that was published in 2008.

Technically, I use a 4×5 camera, color negative film, and generally make my own prints.  For the most part, I have photographed as a wanderer, picking and choosing with an eye for images that describe both what is there (my sense of the visual truth of the place) along with moments that resonate in ways that are more personal: my own response to color, space, light, the natural world and the cultural life of the Plains.

I normally photograph with a mix of intuition and planning and then link the photographs together in narrative ways.  The work ranges from open untouched landscape, to environmental portraits, to small buildings, to small towns.  I am often struck by conjunctions of word and image and have photographed a number of signs – so interpretive reading often goes with the viewing.

March 2011

All images © courtesy of Peter Brown

www.peterbrown.com