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Albert Watson, Photographer Extraordinaire. Part 3: The Las Vegas Pictures

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This article is the work of Lloyd Rowsey and Laurel Steel. 

 

It’s the third in a multi-part presentation of the photographs of Albert Watson.  The first two parts can be viewed by going here and here.

 

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The notes to Watson’s works at artnet’s Artist Works Catalogues refer in passing to the photographer’s forthcoming book, “Shot in Vegas,” which is due out in 2010.  But they do not discuss any of Watson’s Las Vegas pictures.

 

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The twelve photographs in The Las Vegas Pictures, with Laurel Steel’s comments, follow:

 

Vegas!  Watson’s surreal examples of the bizarre.  The road to nowhere helps set the stage.  And the orange sky warns approaching innocents of strange distortions:

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An orange filter for a Cape Cod residence provides an eerie sense of disastrous expectation:

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A motorcycle in a thorny rose bush and a bedroom to embrace them. What a delight! Definitely a matching set!

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A green filter provides an eerie setting for a single town car in an empty, rooftop parking lot, so incongruous in this city of night life.  Similarly, the roadway trailer emphasizes an atypically deserted lot.  The chain link fence transitions with the shadow patterns for the pool, but the emptiness is still evident.

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Somewhere between the beauty of photography as an artful medium and a sales pitch, Watson captures the plastic, the anything-for-sale, the crass flash and glitter of tinsel town.  The garish gold gilt clashes with Hollywood hoopla in both the starship and the monster suit.  The yellow green tones accent the artificiality of more than just the lighting.  Even the nostalgia in the motel signs can not disguise the crude proffering of liquor, sex, and pornography.  How appropriate to capture leaving Las Vegas with a patriotic god.

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(All the images are courtesy of Albert Watson and of artnet’s Artist Works Catalogues.  At its AWC, there is this: “artnet offers these catalogues free to the public as an educational resource.  Simply click on an individual artist's image to begin, and check back often to browse new catalogues.”)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)
 

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