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Steve Davis' "As American Falls"

From Steve Davis’ series “As American Falls.” Click through for more images.

The New York Times recently interviewed photographer Steve Davis, whose latest project “As American Falls” took him back to his roots in American Falls, Idaho, a town that “seems to be dying a death that is as slow as it is unspectacular.” To hear Davis describe the 4,000-person former small farm-based economy (it’s steadily succumbed to “agribusiness and big-box retailers”), American Falls, with its cheerleaders, high school sports teams and fading hardware stores sounds like a stand-in for the town in LAST PICTURE SHOW. “The movie theatre burned down. The bowling alley burned down. A future coal gasification plant for fertilizer production is seen by many as the town’s best hope,” Davis said. “I felt like I was the only one noticing its collapse.”

Like all of Davis’ work, the photographs in this series capture landscapes that are both bleak and beautiful, human relationships that are earnest, yet doomed. American Falls could be any town, but only a local, or a former local anyway, could extract the particular sadness and denial of the death of this American town.