West is a photographic series that explores the landscape around Denver, Colorado. I moved to the suburbs of Denver in the fall of 2016. As I drove around my new surroundings, I noticed the expanse of suburbs at the base of the Rocky Mountains was a common sight, and I began to photograph it. The juxtaposition of suburbs on the Great Plains with the mountains in the background greatly inspired my photographic intuition. I came to realize that Denver’s suburbs are different than anything I had previously experienced. Before moving to Colorado, I lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of my life. One major environmental trait of the Northwest is the trees; the entire landscape is covered in trees and forests. While there are suburbs surrounding all of the major cities, they are invisible behind the evergreens. Denver’s suburbs have no such camouflage. They are visible for miles from the top of any small rise. Photography is in many ways a tool for understanding, and I made these images as a part of my struggle to make sense of my new environment.
One of the reasons this juxtaposition of mountains and suburbs intrigued me so much was that Denver has a very strong “Wild West” identity, with a long history of cowboys and cattle ranchers. It is peculiar for a place that sees itself as a part of the “Wild West” to, in the later decades of the 20th century, become so suburban. That a city built on the of the myth of the west, which essentially promised land and prosperity to all willing to work hard and move west, would become a place where the promised land is actually a small lot and a huge house in a suburban housing development. Perhaps the myth of the American Dream, which promised a single family home to each American, is the one to thank for this development. These images endeavor to portray the collision of these two myths on the land in the areas surrounding Denver now.