Art Uncovered - Michael Light

Premiere DateDec 16, 2014
00:00 Michael Light
01:40 Suburban Las Vegas
03:52 Lake Las Vegas: Home and Foreclosed Neighbor.
07:23 Aerial Freedom
11:01 Development for Mining and Development for Living
15:12 Black Mountain
16:22 Color vs. Black and White
17:53 Family of Pilots
19:54 The Aerial Perspective
23:13 100 Suns and Full Moon
25:24 Mars Landscapes
29:24 Bucket List
32:17 Finish

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.

Las Vegas/Black Mountain is available through Radius Books, and features essays by Rebecca Solnit and Lucy Lippard. You can read Solnit’s essay over at Tom Dispatch.

Thrust-fault mountains near Rainbow Gardens, Lake Las Vegas, Hendersen, Nevada; 2011

Barcelona homes and the edge of Lake Mead Recreation Area looking south, Lake Las Vegas, Henderson, Nevada; 2011

Unbuilt Ascaya lots and cul-de-sac looking southeast, morning, Black Mountain beyond, Henderson, Nevada; 2010

Looking east over unbuilt Ascaya lots, Black Mountain beyond, Henderson, Nevada; 2010

Edge of unbuilt Ascaya development looking east; foreclosed Obsidian Mountain development at left, Henderson, Nevada; 2012

The Falls at Lake Las VEgas and former Northern River mountains looking north, Henderson, Nevada; 2012

From Full Moon

From 100 Suns


Host Thomas
Thomas grew up in Northern California where he fell in love with music and photography while going to punk shows and shooting skate photos. He photography in college, which may or may not qualify him to host an…