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“Steven B. Smith won the prize for his intelligent choice of a subject hidden in full view that is of paramount importance. His work is by turns humorous and piteous, elegiac and ironic, and cumulatively very powerful for he has shaped an essay from aesthetically elegant, delicately nuanced pictures that are pitch perfect, in the spirit of the American West and in keeping with its long history of fine photographs.”—Maria Morris Hambourg
In compelling black-and-white photographs, The Weather and a Place to Live portrays the surreal intersection of suburbia and desert in California, Utah, Nevada, and Colorado, where sprawling suburbs are reconfiguring what was once vast unpopulated territory.
With concision and an unblinking eye, Smith shows how a new frontier is being won, and suggests too how it may be lost in its very emergence. These altered landscapes force us to consider the consequences of human design battling natural forces across great expanses in which nature becomes both inspiration and invisible adversary. Smith’s elegant photographs of this constructed universe confront us with the beauty of images as images, yet push us to reflect on the devastation possible in the simple act of choosing a place to live.
Steven Smith’s photos from The Weather and a Place to Live ran in consecutive issues of The Believer in April and May 2006 as part of the two-part story “Thirteen Ways of Seeing Nature in L.A.” by Jenny Price. Robert Pinsky, former poet laureate, picked The Weather and a Place to Live as one of the most notable cultural happenings of 2005 in Slate magazine’s The Year in Culture: “ . . . like true poetry, [the photographs] peel away my automatic responses, and invite me to look again.”
Steven B. Smith talks about making the photographs for The Weather and a Place to Live at his exhibit opening and book launch
To read reviews of The Weather and a Place to Live, visit PRESS
The Weather and a Place to Live: Photographs of the Suburban West by Steven B. Smith
Published by Duke University Press and the Center for Documentary Studies
2005 | 128 pages | 10 x 9 | 80 duotone photographs
978-0-8223-3611-2 | cloth $39.95
Available at bookstores or from Duke University Press