This piece originally ran as “Our (Spaghetti) Western Town” last September. It’s still among The Big Something posts with the most comments. Like the “Then and Now: Portraits of Urban Renwal” post we ran earlier this month, it seems have spoken to the gulf between how we see ourselves and how we’d like to see ourselves. We’re re-posting it with the original text below as part of the ongoing discussion. Later this week we’ll speak with Pioneers Museum Director Matt Mayberry about the history of urban renewal in Southern Colorado.

When my wife, Marina Eckler, and I were living in New York earlier this year, both of our computers were stolen from our apartment. The only irreplaceable items, sadly, were the thousands of digital photographs. The only backups we had were the few photos she had posted to her blog. The other night, while we were going through the images, I began to notice an odd portrait of our area that emerged from her lens. A native of Los Angeles who spent her 20s in San Francisco, Marina was never entirely convinced that the Colorado landscape was, in fact, the Colorado landscape. She was, however, fascinated with the bizarre conflict between the suburban/urban 50s-80s cityscape and the natural landscape and the West’s own ideas of itself, which heightened her sense of geographical alienation. I asked her if I could download these photos and put them together into a slideshow. After I did, she suggested Ennio Moriccone’s “Duck You Sucker,” part of the soundtrack from the film of the same title (aka Fistful of Dynamite), one of Sergio Leone’s great Spaghetti Westerns, to flesh out the dislocation between the ideas of place and actual place that the images reflected for her.

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7 Responses to How the West Was Weird

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by KRCC. KRCC said: How the West Was Weird: This piece originally ran as “Our (Spaghetti) Western Town” last September. It’s still amo… […]

  2. Sandra says:

    It’s fun to contrast these photos with what, for example, is submitted for the Fresh Ink photo contests. Pikes Peak, Pikes Peak, pretty scenery, hey, another Pikes Peak. Um, yeah, this is also what we look at every single day. Luv the other side & it’s interesting! 😉

  3. Bob Carnein says:

    Thanks for repeating this–I missed it the first time and can see why so many people liked it.

  4. Debbie Swanson says:

    I grew up with most of those images and never really saw them as different from the area I lived. They were part of the Pikes Peak Region. It clarifies for me what I think others must envision when I tell them I live in Colorado or even Colorado Springs – that I live on a mountainside in a log cabin with snow on the ground all year round, only accessible by stagecoach. My brother who lives in Denver thinks of Colorado Springs that way. Still I grew up with both images, and for some strange reason, they are at home with me.

  5. Jeremy Van Hoy says:

    I like.

  6. tobi says:

    Great photos– She has an eye for the simple, strange, everyday details we overlook everyday. Sort of a Diana Arbus view of Landscapes–


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