Item description for Neon Boneyard: Las Vegas A-Z by Judy Natal & Johanna Drucker...
The garish glow of neon was part of what put Las Vegas on the map—quite literally. The city's most distinctive form of expression, neon signs tell an elaborate story of the history of Las Vegas, from their debut in 1929 at the onset of the Depression, when their seductive tones lured travelers through the Mojave Desert to part with scarce dollars, to today, when their flickering glow is a vanishing facet of the gaudy spectacle that is contemporary Vegas.
Established in 1996 to preserve Las Vegas's underappreciated neon heritage, the Neon Boneyard houses many of the city's historic casino signs on a three-acre site at the edge of the city. The core of the collection of unrestored signage came from the pioneering Young Electric Sign Company, one of the first to produce neon signs in the area; but, in recent years, it has grown through donations from businesses and individuals who appreciate the key role played by neon in the growth of Las Vegas.
Through Judy Natal's photographs, the Neon Boneyard becomes a dynamic archaeological site that brings Vegas's past to life in startling ways. The towering figure of Mr. O'Lucky becomes a home for the homeless, while the crumpled sign of a wedding chapel reflects the faded dreams of a lost paradise. Through such juxtapositions of success and failure, of past and present, Neon Boneyard: Las Vegas A–Z returns us to an earlier image of Vegas, suffused with the warm, commercial glow of neon, lighting the desert and inventing modern nightlife.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 7.25" Height: 9.75" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date Oct 30, 2006
Publisher Center for American Places
ISBN 1930066562 ISBN13 9781930066564
Availability 0 units.
More About Judy Natal & Johanna Drucker
Judy Natal is professor of photography at Columbia College Chicago. She has won numerous photography grants, is the author of EarthWords, and her work is exhibited and collected worldwide.
Reviews - What do customers think about Neon Boneyard: Las Vegas A-Z?
Vegas brownout Nov 19, 2007
The twenty-six main photos in this book are part four of Judy Natal's ongoing study of language and landscape. I thought these (and an additional seven) provide a rather slim reason for the book and as the title implies it is a neon sign A to Z which means that the photos are mostly tightly cropped to reveal each relevant letter so there are very few overall shots of this scrapyard. Fortunately a few photos just show one letter so they achieve their purpose easily. The photos do seem rather subdued in their color especially when compared to those appearing in Laura Domela's `Neon Boneyard' book. Domela also goes for close-ups but gets much more exciting compositions and really vibrant colors, a sort of daylight version of what these signs used to look during their working life.
Apart from the photos I found the book a rather conservative production: the use of roman numerals for the first few pages, the twenty-six photos all face a blank page, the captions in the back are just lettered PLATE A, B, C etc with no reference on the relevant photo spread (in fact the captions in the book have three styles: as roman numbers, as letters and after the twenty-six plates as straight page numbers) the ACKNOWLEDGMENTS take three pages (are readers really interested in all this back-slapping) plus another page for ABOUT THE BOOK which includes thanks to the Icelandic printer for doing what he is paid to do.
Daylight images of scrapped neon I think work better in Domela's photos rather than the ones in 'Neon Boneyard Las Vegas A-Z'.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.