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Neon Mesa: Wonders of the Southwest

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Neon Mesa: Wonders of the Southwest is a stunning photographic record of the vernacular landscape of the American Southwest - the roadside landscape littered with the signs, relics, sights and debris of countless anonymous road trips. The Four Corners is a unique region where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet. Rob Atkins' photos capture the irony and pathos of the place in icons of the American Dreams, be they those of the Nuclear Age, the Frontier, the Cowboy, or the Native American, all caught in the stark majestic images of a present already passing, in rusting road-signs, flickering neon light, and derelict motels, set against some of America's most awe-inspiring natural scenery.The dazzling light of the Southwest, the enormous skies and stark desert imagery form the back drop to Rob Atkins stunning exploration of a quintessential American landscape. He captures visual gems with his camera from the ghostly quarries of old motels and roadside wrecks, of decaying signs and faded walls, and writes about the minutiae of lost Americana with affection and great style.The photographs in Rob Atkins's Neon Mesa are images on the verge, like ghosts on the surface of time. He frames a handmade, local world that is in its last shadow of appearance. The affection he brings to this decay is touching. His kachina image made in Winslow, Arizona, has a voice of photographic poetry -- a painted surface giving up the ghost; impressions of a face between worlds; time, framed for contemplation. Rob has produced a vanishing optical, not an illusion, a zoetrope of successively triggered metaphors. The moody blues of Neon Mesa are silhouetted in a sky as fragile as the crumbling icons he records.Images can point us beyond their prima facie appearance. As the face is the surface of that which is within, so the image has a depth beyond its surface, the voice of its form. We can hear the image in Rob's canticle of abandoned automobiles, a carnival of oil barrels, neon "Indians" and plastic cowboys, nuclear icons and the single, shadowed presence of a human. Echoing in each inscape is the same chant: "gone, gone, gone."Beyond the nostalgic, Neon Mesa suggests that the mythic elements of our history, appropriated and re-tasked for consumer ends, are alive and well in the Los Angelization of the planet. The promise of the global world is the loss of the local world. With more to say than can be spoken, Neon Mesa is an iconographic contemplation, not only of our past but perhaps of our future as well. From vanquished vernacular to the atomic age of modernity, do his photographs chronicle a sunset or a dawn?Rob Atkins's images can have the appearance of a time you think you know, of a visage you think you have seen. Suspend this response and stare at the images until they become strange -- until they speak to you. In doing so, you might encounter the unthinkable, the "normal" for the first time and discover, hidden in plain sight, a world more real than true.When attraction finds affection, magic is conceived. The enchantment of the American Southwest has captured Rob's heart. Small wonder, then, that Neon Mesa was born.

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Additional Information

Additional Information

Author Rob Atkins
Binding Hardback
Condition New
Pages 101
ISBN-13 9781593730680
Publisher Bunker Hill Publishing


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