Picked as Book of the Week by Rupert Jenkins
Until 2008, Nevada was the fastest-growing state in America. But the recession stopped this urbanizing gallop, and Las Vegas froze at exactly the point where its aspirational excesses were most baroque and unfettered. In this third installment of Michael Light's aerial survey of the inhabited West, the photographer hovers intimately over the topography of America's most fevered residential dream, capturing castles on the cheap-some half-built, some foreclosed, some still waiting to spring from empty cul-de-sacs. Throughout, Light finds beauty and empathy amid a visual vertigo of speculation, overreach and environmental delusion. Janus-faced in design, one side of the book plumbs the surrealities of "Lake Las Vegas," a lifestyle resort comprised of 21 Mediterranean-themed communities. The other side dissects nearby Black Mountain and the city's most exclusive-and empty-future community, where a quarter billion dollars was spent on moving earth that has lain dormant for the past six years.