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Laura McPhee
Desert Chronicle

Desert Chronicle
The Home and the World
Guardians of Solitude
Gateway
River of No Return
Driveway Portraits
Tea Pluckers
No Ordinary Land
Family

Made with film and a large-format view camera, the photographs envelop time, both geologic and human. A serpentine river has cut deep meanders through the land. A gold mine on the edge of the Black Rock Desert is an incision in the land, exposing its ruddy interior. A still-life found on slickrock in the Navajo Nation reveals fragments of human presence -- machine parts, zippers, desert- varnished tin cans, a tiny plastic toy among shards of glass and rust. Collectively, the pictures evoke contemplation of how we use the earth and to what ends. A meditation on our material lives and the unintended consequences of humanity's attempts to control and manage nature, the images depict our paradoxical efforts as we variously restore, protect, alter, and exploit the land.