« Return to this article

Know the West

Photos explore the eerie and erotic of public lands

David Benjamin Sherry, Terry Tempest Williams and Bill McKibben celebrate what could be lost to Trump’s monument rollbacks.


David Benjamin Sherry is a photographer with an unusual approach to the Western landscape. Born in 1981 in Woodstock, New York, he got his MFA in photography from Yale and began making vibrant monochrome color prints that reflect queer themes in their tactile, almost erotic sense of the land, together with a mystical link to the natural world.

David Benjamin Sherry: American Monuments features 31 hand-tipped large-format photographs of the 27 national monuments created since 1996 that are now under presidential review. In the last days of 2017, President Donald Trump announced plans to shrink two recently designated national monuments in Utah — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — largely at the behest of oil and uranium mining interests. Sherry documents the eerie beauty of these sacred and diverse sites while shedding light on the perennial exploitation of the American West. Thoughtful essays by Terry Tempest Williams and Bill McKibben accompany the images.

David Benjamin Sherry: American Monuments
By Terry Tempest Williams and Bill McKibben; photographs by David Benjamin Sherry
160 pages, hardcover: $75
Radius Books, 2019


Jolene Yazzie is an editorial intern at High Country News. Email her at [email protected]