Imprint: George F Thompson Publishing
172 Pages, 10 x 11.9 in, 119 color photographs and 11 color illustrations, including 2 gatefolds
- April 2018
- In Stock
Steve Fitch is among America’s most well-known chroniclers of the American West since the days of Easy Rider. He has been photographing examples of the West’s changing vernacular landscape and vanishing roadside landmarks for more than 40 years. In his new book, he presents both the ancient and the modern by way of petroglyphs, neon motel signs and hand-painted business signs, drive-in movie theater screens, and radio and cell towers. All of them are now endangered because of the advent of the Interstate Highway System and corporate franchises.
In this fascinating and comprehensive account, we are able to join in Fitch’s expansive journey, truly an odyssey, as represented in the book’s 120 unforgettable photographs, all sequenced to mimic the open road—both during day and night. Fitch explains the project in his informative introduction, in which, interestingly, he suggests that the petroglyphs of the ancient Pueblo people have endured far better and longer than anything made during the last sixty years. Curator Toby Jurovics, in his insightful concluding essay, positions Fitch’s work in relation to that of the practitioners of the photographic style known as the “New Topographics” and Fitch’s own view of photography as a visual form of cultural anthropology.
Vanishing Vernacular: Western Landmarks is sure to become a modern-day classic, a book that will be all the more revered as America and Americans move farther away from the highways of the past. That economy and roadside culture are vanishing like endangered species, but Fitch was along for the ride. In sharing that past, he has been witness to his own form of historic preservation.
“Steve Fitch reminds us of one of the great pleasures of the classic American road trip, the exuberant roadside motel sign, an endangered species he artfully captures in all its neon glory, alongside drive-in movie theaters, hand-painted signs, and other oddities of the Western cultural landscape.” ~Katherine Ware, Curator of Photography, New Mexico Museum of Art
"Steve Fitch, who refers to himself as a visual folklorist, has documented the changing landscape of the American West since the mid-1970s. His new photo book, Vanishing Vernacular: Western Landmarks, is a striking visual commentary on how these once ubiquitous signs—alongside thousand-year-old petroglyphs, small-town murals, and drive-in theaters—are becoming part of the collective memory of the West." ~Aida Amer, Atlas Obscura
“In Steve Fitch’s wonderful photographic survey Vanishing Vernacular: Western Landmarks we find a fading world of the hotels, diners, radio masts and cinemas dotted along the highways [...] Fitch produces a moving paean to the landmarks of yesteryear. This is Americana of an imaginative kind.” ~Christian House, Sotheby's Art Reviewer, Art Agency, Partners