New Mexico

Open Air the American West

The American West is more than geography. It is a metaphor and myth as well as place: a landscape so vast and varied that it has been called one of nature's most spectacular stage settings. Its many names are shorthand symbols for independence and adventure. Hungarian Photographer Tamas Revesz followed the sun through the American West from dry canyons of Colorado to fog-shrouded California coast, looking for the living landscape behind the icons he had glimpsed in films and travel books.

He shows the West through the eyes and lens of a contemporary European explorer seeing the land for the first time: The Grand Canyon illuminated in the evening light like a gigantic paper lantern; the snag-toothed mesas of Sky City, New Mexico; the single bold statement of Oregon's Crater Lake, set like a saphire in the bowl of an extinct volcano.

The West that Revesz discovers is a landscape of the spirit as well as rock and water. Open Air the American West explores the history and legends of a journey through the open air of the American West, including the deserted Indian dwellings of Mesa Verde, Colorado, and the wind-carved rocks of Monument Valley, Utah.

Eventually, most travelers are overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the West and the irony if signs announcing "View Point." The view is everywhere. The vista is too big to see in one glance, the mountains too high, the canyons too deep. The sky opens overhead to the horizon in a seemingly endless sweep. And occasionally, there's an urge to try to contain the vastness, to frame it with a doorway or a window, to give it some boundaries, to tame it - to gain a brief open air.
Judith Horstman

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