Synopses & Reviews
The end of the twentieth century represents an unsettled time, and the contemporary Southwest, as seen by Virgil Hancock III in these fifty-two exquisite color photographs, is a strange place full of omens and signs. His images peer beyond the scenery, beyond the tourism-council view of this region as a storied land of golf courses and climate-controlled shopping centers. He gets at the soul of the Southwest, of the nation, and, in his best photographs, at the human condition itself, seizing on the accidental symbols that speak to our yearnings and shortfalls: skyward-pointing arrows and crosses and dreams just beyond reach at Indian casinos, failed department stores, retirement cities. He photographs signs of the violence that has been endemic to the region and shows us ruins, not of the Anasazi or Spanish missions, but of commercialization, scarcely twenty years old, already gone belly-up.
Hancock records decay and despair with beauty and elegance, creating a powerful and unflinching document of the post-Cold War West. In his eloquent essay, Gregory McNamee plumbs the cultural backdrop to this visual portrait, the collision of past and future, sacred and profane.
The color photographs record decay and despair with beauty and elegance, accompanied by a text that plumbs the cultural backdrop of the contemporary American Southwest.