Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, 2011
Available on Amazon
From Steve Fitch:
Beginning in 1971 nearly all of my photographs have been made on various trips of exploration which evolve from a starting idea followed by a period of travel and discovery and concluding with the struggle of editing and selection. The three groups of my Llano Estacsado images included in this book were made in a similar manner.
For my first book published in 1976, Diesels and Dinosaurs: Photographs from the American Highway, I took photographs of vernacular subjects such as billboards, neon signs at night, drive-in movie theater murals, snakepit and dinosaur park sculptures and other phenomena that gave me an insight into the American roadside psyche. I believe my recent photographs of mural paintings and signs do a similar thing for the Llano Estacado: they are each a window through which we can peer into the particular, often funny and eccentric, history and world view that has evolved on the Llano Estacado.
A more recent photographic project of mine--published in 2003 in the book, Gone: Photographs of Abandonment on the High Plains--involved traveling the length and breadth of the American high plains photographing the interiors of the many abandoned buildings that are found there. Over a ten year period I made numerous exploring trips in my pickup, criss-crossing the high plains portions of North and South Dakota; Montana and Wyoming; Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma; west Texas and eastern New Mexico. A good portion of the Llano Estacado, like the rest of the high plains, has lost much of its rural population over the past 100 years or so and the signs of this loss are evident in the many abandoned structures that dot the region. The interior photographs included here are an outgrowth of the earlier project that resulted in the book, Gone.
The third group of my photographs included in this book, the radio tower images, are, perhaps, the pictures of mine that come most specifically from my explorations on the Llano. Some parts of this region are so surprisingly flat that anything that sticks up vertically from the landscape takes on an overwhelming presence. In these images one can see the technological intricacies of the towers themselves as well as feel the mystical beauty of the big, atmospheric sky that floods over the wide terrain of the Llano Estacado. The tower photographs catalyze an awareness and appreciation of this powerful, often intimidating landscape.