Like many who grew up during the spread of sprawl--with its predictable landscape of housing developments, shopping malls, interstate highways, and big-box construction--acclaimed photographer Jeff Brouws is drawn to places that still embody the vernacular past as well as to those that starkly portray the soulless, franchised American landscape. What began as cultural geography of Main Streets became a visual critique of the myth of upward mobility that created this car-centered, paved-over universe. Some images look outward to the edges of suburbia where sprawl is encroaching upon nature. Others turn inward, documenting the devastated inner cities. All the stunning color photographs reflect the complex beauty and desolation of visual life in our time.
Jeff Brouws is a fine art photographer and part-time writer who has nine books to his credit, authoring five on railroad photography alone. He has been published in Trains, the NRHS Bulletin and the R&LHS Quarterly. A book of his own photographs, Approaching Nowhere (also from W. W. Norton) was published in 2006. His photographs can be found in major institutional collections around the country including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Harvard's Fogg Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.