“Why do we take pictures? To preserve memories? Stop time? Tell stories? Andrew Phelps’ photographs of Higley, Arizona do all of these things. But most of all they make me want to go out into the world. Stripped of the usual tendency toward cynical sensationalism, Phelps’ pictures depict Higley with a mixture of clarity and affection. After looking at this remarkable book, I feel like going outside to chat with my neighbour.”
Higley, Arizona is disappearing.
Week by week, a township, once at the center of a farming expanse, is steadily loosing ground to the exploding metropolis known as the “greater Phoenix area”.
Two-lane, dirt-shouldered, rough paved roads with names like Ellsworth, Ray, or Pecos are being widened and annexed by entrance drives to bedroom communities with promising names like “Heritage Springs” or „Sunset Haven“
Feed lots and grain silos have been replaced by strip malls and fast-food chains. Track-housing subdivisions are replacing homesteads founded after WW 2 by service-men who came to build airplanes and stayed to grow citrus, cotton, alfalfa and corn, or to tend dairy-farms. Forced to sell out due to inflated property taxes and the urban encroachment, these vast lots of land, along with their history are loosing the battle against a homogenous America. These photographs of Higley and the surrounding towns of Gilbert, Chandler and Queen Creek are an on-going documentation of this micro-cosmos of globalization.
A video interview here.