Synopses & Reviews
For this book, Chuck Forsmanand#8212;a landscape painter held in the highest regardand#8212;undertook a fascinating project: while traveling the American West in search of places to paint, he took 35mm black-and-white photographs of the landscape as seen not from the saddle of a horse but from behind the wheel of a car. He shot his images spontaneously, in all seasons, weather conditions, and times of day, creating a body of energetic and poetically direct work that reviewers have already compared favorably to Robert Frank's The Americansand#8212;one of the twentieth century's most significant works of photography. Just as Frank offered a penetratingly honest and new view of America during the 1950s, so too does Forsman present us with equally honest views of the American West, views that capture the gripping beauty of the American road as well as the common experience we share in looking at a landscape the way it is most often seen: through the window of an automobile.
and#8220;The angles are uniqueand#8212;photos sometimes completely framed by the car window or centered in a rearview mirror. . . . The perspective reflects the subjectsand#8212;the open road, the transience of the Western population and the human search for a sense of place.and#8221;
and#8220;Western Rider is visual poetry that conveys the emotional essence of the western road trip. Not the corporatized, homogenous four-lane rush, but the type of trip we might expect from the likes of Abbey or McPhee or Stegner. Very good company on the road, Iand#8217;d say.and#8221;
and#8220;Desolation, despoilment and death are part of our Western story, and Forsman manages to catch them all in ways that both haunt and inspire. . . . Forsmanand#8217;s moving photos, moody and evocative of my own long Western wanderings, do not leave me with an impression of failure. Rather, they are a testament to the resilience--and on some far-future day--the triumph of earth over all humanityand#8217;s fleeting works. They make me love our tainted West all the more.and#8221;