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Lost America: The Abandoned Roadside West Paperback – July 13, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: MBI (July 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076031490X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760314906
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,407,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Troy Paiva, AKA Lost America, has been creating light painted night photography in abandoned locations and junkyards since 1989. His documentarian, yet surrealist-sometimes playful, sometimes haunting work examines the evolution and eventual abandonment of the communities, infrastructure and social iconography spawned during America's 20th century expansion into the cities and deserts of the West-and the intensely exhilarating, yet strangely comforting act of sneaking around in the middle of the night, creating art from its ruins.

Over the last eleven years this website has gone viral repeatedly, spawning millions of hits. Troy's imagery has appeared in print, in over a dozen countries-including three Stephen King book covers-and two award-winning monographs: "Lost America: Night Photography of the abandoned Roadside West" in 2003 (Motorbooks International), and "Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration" in 2008 (Chronicle Books). Troy's work has appeared in museums and galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Sweden and San Francisco. In 2010 and 2011 he appeared as a guest judge on the Singapore reality TV show The Big Shot.

The current craze over light painted night photography in abandoned places started right here, with this website, back in 1999. As a result, Troy's low cost, high impact light painting techniques have been emulated all over the world. The "Lost America" body of work is a true original.

Troy can be easily reached by e-mail: paiva@designshed.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
After years of admiring Troy Paiva's photography on his website, I was thrilled to find that a collection of his unique images is finally available in print. For those unfamiliar with Paiva's work, he takes color pictures of long-abandoned buildings and machines at night, under moonlight, and provides additional illumination with splashes of brightly colored flash. If that sounds gaudy or just plain odd, it probably is. And although I'm normally a fan of subdued colors and black-and-white photography, Troy Paiva's work has always captivated me. A lot of photographers take pictures of decay. And taken under sunlight by any other photographer, that's what these images would look like. But decay is only part of the story. Troy Paiva had a stroke of genius when he determined that darkness and garish color would turn his images of junk into vital accounts of American technologies and ideas whose life cycle has been spent. His lighting techniques make the structures seem haunted. Not by ghosts, but by cultures long departed. Ugly things are made eerily riveting, if not actually beautiful.
"Lost America" contains five sections: "Where the Lanes Are Wide" (photographs of abandoned Miracle Mile towns), "Drive In, Drive Out" (you guessed it, drive-in movie theaters), "The Last Resort" (The Salton Sea), and "Salvage" (machines with one foot in the grave). Troy Paiva introduces each section with an excellent essay detailing the history of the subject and its demise. The essays are fluid and informative. Mr. Paiva turns out to be one of those photographers who writes the text for his photographs better than anyone else could.
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Format: Paperback
As you would expected the mechanical detritus of America is a bit of a magnet for photographers. Who can pass up taking shots of abandoned vehicles, filling stations and other commercial buildings that seem to be scattered along the tarmac of the Nation, especially if they are surrounded by an empty landscape. Not Troy Paiva for sure but he takes the idea a step further by capturing all this stuff after dark and he does a super job.

Not content with taking these photos at night he adds a neat touch by using different colored lights to illuminate the scene. So now the ordinary abandoned filling station becomes the extraordinary abandoned station with red walls, green and purple canopies against a dark blue sky (Ludlow on Route 66, page forty-seven) or part of a pick-up truck with a magenta cab leaning against a junked interstate highway sign (Sacramento, page 110) The four chapters in the book are full of these intriguing photos. The best ones, I think, are in Salvage where you can see some knockout images of old jet planes, slowly being cut up for scrap.

As well as great photos, Troy Paiva writes interesting captions to all the photos, rather unusual for a photo book, so many photographers seem to think that just the name of the location and the year is all that is required. He also contributes four worthwhile essays to each chapter filling out the historical detail of what is now discarded.

So why *** stars? It's because the book's production really does not do justice to these photos. The publisher mostly produce transport books not art books and the layout would be fine if it was dealing with trains, for instance, where the photos and artwork would come from a variety of sources.
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Format: Paperback
I've been a fan of Troy Paiva's night photography for years. It's ethereal, it's mysterious, it's almost supernatural. The Abandoned Roadside West is his recurrent theme: ghost towns, derelict drive-ins and motels, airplane graveyards, and other places in our own country that we would never otherwise see, or even guess at their existence.
How does he do it? He works at it. Over the years he developed his own system of long-exposure night photography that uses strategically placed colored strobes to light the most unusual and out-of-the-way locales imaginable, which he researches and tracks down during week-long expeditions through the forgotten desert highways of the West in his trusty Subaru SUV.
Paiva, a former toy designer, is like no one else. He possesses a sardonic view of the world and a maniacal sense of humor. His esthetic is informed by kitsch, camp, television, toys, modern architecture, the pop culture of the fifties and sixties, and his extensive formal training in design and technology. How this mixture of traits and influences yields such hauntingly beautiful images is a mystery you will want to check out.
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Format: Paperback
Speaking as a published photographer, this book of unusual night photography is very, very impressive, and highly recommended. On first look, this appears to be portfolio of artsy night photographs of rusty junk that's been abandoned in the desert and photographed by a roving lost soul. But it's much more than that. It's a diary of Lost America, and an ode to the innovation and creativity of The American Spirit.
Paiva will take you on a strange journey that he's been traveling for more than 10 years, through the graveyards of a world that no longer exists, except in our memories, and in these photographs, which are unlike anything you've ever seen. Yes, these are photographs of long-abandoned leading-edge technological innovations of their time - which we now call junk -- but they are also pictures of places, long ago abandoned by people who had bigger hopes and dreams. What we don't know is whether their dreams ended in tragedy, or whether they abandoned what they saw as worthless baubles of an industrial America in constant state of creative destruction and transition, to move onward and upward to better things. And thus these photographs become palettes for our imaginations.
Behind every picture, there is a story, and Paiva's five outstanding essays provide some of that story by providing insight to the transitions of American culture over the past 50 years or so, as well as adding his uniquely humorous, sentimental - and sometimes scary - outlook on his photo subjects.
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