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Jessica Auer June 11, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Las Vegas, Nevada, 2004

Jessica Auer (b.1978, Canada) is a documentary-style landscape photographer concerned with the study of cultural sites focusing on themes that connect place, journey and cultural experience. Jessica holds an MFA from Concordia University and is the recipient of several awards such as the W.B. Bruce European Fine Art Travel Fellowship and the Roloff Beny Prize. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, museums and public spaces across Canada and abroad. Her first book, Unmarked Sites, was noted by Photo-Eye and the Indie Photobook Library as one of the top ten photography books published in 2011. Jessica is a co-founder of Galerie Les Territoires in Montréal and teaches photography at Concordia University.

About the Photograph:

“This was the first photo that I produced for a series titled Re-creational Spaces, a project that I pursued for seven years and became my best-known work. At that time I considered creating a photographic series exclusively about Las Vegas and booked a cheap ticket to do some scouting. I had just read Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s Learning from Las Vegas as part of my MFA thesis research and the opening sentence stuck with me, Learning from an existing landscape is a way of being revolutionary for an architect. Having long been interested in landscape and the built environment, I was curious to see for myself how the Strip had shifted and evolved since the 70’s.”

“When I arrived camera in hand, I gravitated towards the hotels that were smaller-scale replicas of other places in the World – Paris, New York, and in the case of this photo, Venice. What I remember most about the moment I took this photo was contemplating how this site must have looked before the city was built, and this image in mind – a nearly blank desert landscape – was such a stark contrast to what I was witnessing. When I later looked at this image in print and was able to spend more time with all details, such as the gondola driver on his PDA, and the words Mirage repeated over and over, I decided to only use this one photograph. From there, I began a series linking different tourist destinations, showing how the landscape has been altered and commodified for sightseeing.”