Richard Misrach. The Desert Is a Stage
Richard Misrach became acutely aware of the US military’s omnipresence in the desert when he was arrested while photographing in Yuma, Arizona, near the Marine Corps Air Station. He was taken to the barracks and questioned by intelligence officers who threatened to seize his film. The deserts of the American West, seemingly untouched wild landscapes, are dotted by military intervention. These points of “civilization colliding with the natural world,”1 seen in Misrach’s images of bomb-testing sites, man-made floods and fires, and the US–Mexico border that make up his long-running “Desert Cantos” series, are illuminated in the vast expanse of the open desert as if on an epic stage.