/04 Traces

Peter Brown

On the Plains

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