Las Vegas Periphery

Views from the Edge

Laurie Brown, Sally Denton

In viewing the borders and boundaries that exist between human settlement and the natural environment, Laurie Brown takes us on a modern journey on a well-worn path in human history: the pushing out of the city, initially beyond city walls of ancient Rome and then medieval Europe and today beyond political boundaries into the undeveloped frontier.
Date Published :
January 2013
Publisher :
George F Thompson Publishing
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781938086014

Stock Status : In stock


Laurie Brown has long been fascinated with what happens at the edge of cities. In her pioneering, photographic work on Los Angeles, her focus was on the terraforming activities in that quintessential modern metropolis, where nature is literally scraped away and terraced to accommodate the most recent version of the American Dream: more roads and highways, more residential and commercial developments, more golf courses and city services, more pressure on the natural systems that undergird the city and region. It was only natural that Brown would turn her artistic attention to the eastern end of the Los Angeles corridor--Las Vegas--and she does so in full, living color.

Few other places engender such a common image of excess and extravagance as does Las Vegas. But Brown reminds us that what makes Las Vegas such an alluring place to live and to visit is its location in the austere but beautiful landscapes of North America's driest and sunniest region: the magnificent Mojave Desert. As Las Vegas has expanded, the contrast between the native desert and recent human terrain is a palpable fact that Brown captures brilliantly in her panoramic format. In each photograph we see the impact of our newest designs and constructions on the land, raising questions about the availability of scarce natural resources and, ultimately, the wisdom of our vision for the place.

By finding the interface between nature and culture that exists in these so-called paradisal environments, Laurie Brown takes us on a modern journey on a well-worn path in Western civilization: the pushing out of the city that emerged in ancient Greece and Rome and extended beyond the city walls of medieval Europe to today's political boundaries nestled beside nature's undeveloped frontier. But at what cost? Like the ruins of Pompeii, Brown's hauntingly beautiful photographs reveal how well (or not) we have created a modern American Eden: Las Vegas. (See the publishers website for a slide show and further information about the book: )

About The Author

LAURIE BROWN is a photographer from Newport Coast, California, whose photographs are in the permanent collections of the Center for Creative Photography, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, New Orleans Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Santa Barbara Museum of Art, among others. She has had one-person and group exhibitions at numerous institutions, including the California Museum of Photography, Irvine Fine Arts Center, Laguna Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Nevada Museum of Art, Palm Springs Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Sezon Museum in Tokyo. Her first book of photographs, Recent Terrains: Terraforming the American West, was published in 2000 by the Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Center for American Places.

Sally Denton born in Elko, Nevada, in 1953, is a third-generation Nevadan. She attended the Uni- About the Author versity of Nevada-Reno before completing her B.A. at the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1974. Denton received a Lannan Literary Grant in 2000, Western Heritage Awards in 2002 and 2004, and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in General Nonfiction in 2006. In 2008, she was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Her career as an investigative reporter resulted in articles in The Washington Post, Penthouse, The New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review, and American Heritage. Her books include The Bluegrass Conspiracy: An Inside Story of Power, Greed, Drugs, and Murder;The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and its Hold on America (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001) co-authored with Roger Morris, which was made into a documentary film broadcast on the History Channel, Faith and Betrayal: A Pioneer Woman's Passage in the American West (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006); Passion and Principle: John and Jessie Frémont, the Couple Whose Power, Politics, and Love Shaped Nineteenth-Century America (Bloomsbury, 2007); and The Plots Against the President: FDR, a Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of the American Right(Bloomsbury, 2012). Denton currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and her Website is


"Las Vegas Periphery by photographer Laurie Brown with an Essay by Sally Denton is not a book about the famous Sin City. This one is VIEWS FROM THE EDGE with beautiful, full color photos printed one on each of the large format pages of this lovely photography book. The essayist grew up in the area and tells the history of the growth of this area of Nevada, which had only about 30 homesteaders in 1905 when the first railroad reached there. In 1931 Nevada legalized gambling, and that set the stage for enormous growth. These photographs honor the part of this vast desert that was not victim of the huge city. The desert is both beautiful and unrelenting and could at any moment destroy the city. This is a book you will want to own if you travel or live there."

- Bonnie Neely, Real Travel Adventures

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