Monaco Lake Las Vegas home and foreclosed neighbor, on guard-gated Grand Corniche Drive, Henderson, Nevada; 2010
For years Michael Light has been photographing the American West from above. He flies his own plane, or sometimes rents a helicopter, and goes searching for photographs that capture the vastness of the Western landscape and the way humans have built their own environments within it. This work is part of an ongoing project called Some Dry Space: An Inhabited West, and over the years Michael has produced numerous books — including many 3-foot tall art books — of this work. Earlier installments in the Some Dry Space project include aerial cityscapes of Los Angeles as well as flyovers of the Bingham Mine in Utah.
The newest addition to Some Dry Space is a two-part book called Lake Las Vegas/Black Mountain. The Lake Las Vegas side of the book depicts the baroque mansions built in Las Vegas during the pre-crash housing boom. Black Mountain shows a surreal, terraformed landscape as it awaits the construction of hundreds of exclusive luxury homes.
A few weeks back I got a chance to talk with Michael about aerial photography, growing up in a family of pilots, the strange landscapes of suburban Las Vegas, and more.