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Approaching Nowhere: Photographs Hardcover – September 17, 2006
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More About the Author
Initially engaged with what Walker Evans termed the "historical contemporary" along America's secondary highways beginning in the late 1980s, over the following twenty years Brouws has extended this inquiry into the everyday places occupied by most Americans - the franchised landscapes of strip malls, homogenized housing tracts and fast food chains. More recently, he has also instigated an all-encompassing photographic investigation of decimated inner cities: abandoned manufacturing sites, low-income housing, and other commercial ruins - residual public spaces left behind by the effects of de-industrialization, white flight, disinvestment, failed urban policy and overall societal neglect. Throughout these various series, Brouws seeks the nexus points behind the movement of capital and the cycles of construction, decline and renewal within the built environment. For him roads, highways and city streets - vital components of a national infrastructure - are both engines of economic development and symbols of human freedom. By subtle implication, his photographs also evoke the restlessness of an uncertain nation and communicate a low-lying foreboding. They also challenge the mythos of the American Dream and suggest an underlying disparity throughout a country that purports economic equality and social justice for all.
Brouws is the author of seven books including his most recent Approaching Nowhere published by W. W. Norton in 2006. His photographs can be found in major private and public collections including the Whitney Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Art, Harvard's Fogg Museum, Princeton University Art Museum, and the Henry Art Museum.
Top Customer Reviews
Jeff Brouws has spent some years casting his creative eye over urban sprawl, interstate commercial failure and inner city decay. This latest book captures all this so well in these ninety-eight photos. The first thing you'll notice about the book (perhaps portfolio is a better word) is the size, an impressive 12.25 inches deep by 11.5 wide which gives the images the sort of display they deserve, helped also by the excellent layout and 175dpi printing. Divided into three photographic sections: Highway Landscape, Discarded Landscape and Impossibility of Ruins, this last section has nineteen remarkable shots of rust-belt inner city decay. Because of the vastness of this city blight there is more chance that the authorities will do something about it while the single abandoned highway gas station will stay just that--abandoned.
The Highway Landscape has the most photos and it is here that frequently a shot will jump off the page, it just seems so right. Page sixty-one has a beautiful night image of the Sands Restaurant in Fresno, a neon sign and other lettering perfectly framed within the image area or the gas station ruins in Vidal Junction, CA, nicely composed into thirds, sky, buildings and an earth foreground.Read more ›
Brouws' work defines the term "landscape" as do the great cultural geographers, such as J.B. Jackson: It's a terrain that acts upon and is acted upon by its human inhabitants. There are few things more confounding, yet fascinating, than the behavior of other humans. We persist in the same habits and choices, despite frequently catastrophic results. Approaching Nowhere illuminates these foibles by studying their consequences through superb photography.
While Brouws' edifying eye for this world is sharply focused on the often sad reality of uncivilized sprawl, I find no stridence or intemperate cynicism in his attitude. Instead, I see the investigative sensibility of an earnest anthropologist, combined with the creative eloquence of a very talented artist.
I'm writting this review after two previous one which describes perfectly what this incredible book is, so I won't repeat it.
I just can say that I'd file this book under "poetry".
Greetings from Barcelona
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm a lover of this style of photography. But I have to say I was disappointed with the quality of the prints. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Jackie Jax
Brilliant collection of photos by an underated photographer.Published 14 months ago by Julian Wasser