Nevada 1, Nevada


Thomas Struth ( German, 1954 )

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General Description

In 1999, Thomas Struth traveled throughout the storied American West, seeking out its particular landscape. In Nevada, Struth found a subject that challenged him to capture without sentimentality or exaggeration the land that has been the site of so much American mythology. To make this photograph Struth placed his camera on the shaded side of a mesa overlooking the vast Nevada desert. Immediately evident is the shadowed contour of the rock outcrop and the spiky vegetation that lead down diagonally from the picture's upper right corner. The shadow is so dark because the sun bearing down on the desert is so intensely bright, an impression confirmed by the clear blue sky fully dominating the upper half of the composition. On the left lower corner, we see a line meandering to the center horizon of further mesas in the distance. The line turns out to be a road which appears to be no more than a trail. Nevada 1 shows Struth drawing out a composition from a landscape that is flat and barren and mostly devoid of human presence; and that relies on the unmitigated sun for its visual clarity.

Adapted from

Charles Wylie, DMA unpublished material, 2001.