“Grays The Mountain Sends is a group of pictures that seem to have been made in the wake of a tidal wave. The photographs are fashioned from a sensitivity for the brittleness of hope and the inextinguishable will to dream, despite the deadweight of sadness that remains in a land so full of promise, and so riven by a studious neglect. The American West is the seedbed of American mythology, home to its essential, interwoven narratives of promise, freedom and prosperity — a place still infused with the ancestral hope of reinvention. To make a group of photographs in that region is to contend with the idea of an entire nation, to reckon with the arc of its history, and to interrogate the distance it has travelled from its birth to our present moment. These images suggest that distance is in the lifeblood of this nation — perhaps the distance that was brought to the continent by those who settled here, carrying their sorrows and expectations along with them; perhaps the history of distance from power embedded in the forging of a nation that has its beginnings in a fugitive idea, or perhaps the sorrowful distance that separates those who benefitted from the settling of the frontier from those who were its victims. However it may be, the lifeblood of these images is to be found in the difficult poetry of a land made up of distance, and in the alternating tranquility and sadness that it bequeathes to those who inhabit, and are shaped by it. It would be fair to say of these images what William Kittredge said of the poet Richard Hugo, whose poetry served as an inspiration for these photographs: ‘they love the singing distances and the dreams of people who inhabit them.’”
— from The Land that Gives Birth to Freedom, an essay on Bryan Schutmaat’s Grays the Mountain Sends, just published at thegreatleapsideways.com.
The fourth photo is like a scene from a post-apocalyptic James Crumley novel. Mind blowing.