When I saw this post’s featured image, Camper Landscape, Yosemite National Park, California, in a post on Feature Shoot about the winners of Ken Allen Studios’ spring photo contest (from last June), I knew that artist Daniel Mirer and I had something in common. I love the giant photographic murals covering the camper vehicles you see all over the West these days, and whenever I spot one, I try to line up the image with something in the landscape. I immediately reacted to Mirer’s photo, and visited his website looking for a series of similar images. I was so pleased to find Indifferent West, a project containing more than 70 photographs about the sentimental, cliche, kitsch qualities of representations of the American West.

From the artist’s statement: “Indifferent West” is a photographic and video series that investigates the personification of a North American identity. The American West and its touristic architectural locations are linked to a contemporary landscape as metaphors. Through this project, I photograph the found and sentimental representations of the mythic frontier of the American West. The images are of touristic sites; places that are of the familiar and cliché but also create a picturesque image of an Americana landscape. Through the institutions that perpetuate the mythic models through tourism, the results are that the American West is an idea that has become a vast site for elements of kitsch about a space intersecting with the comic and history ripe for consumption.

These photographs represent private entertainment industries for tourism projecting the notions of the exotification of the romantic, untamed, hostile wilderness, seeming lifeless and void, which becomes wrapped in mythology attending to what is called the American West. The “West” had become a place where the Lone Ranger, Marlboro Man, and the Noble Savage were invented and where they continue to reside in the collective cultural unconscious of the American cultural identity. The western landscape is re-contextualized from reality and is indifferent to historical facts establishing an American psyche of the make-believe, which has become a self-referent notion of ambiguity.

Visit artist's site: danielmirer.com