Sam Stone's Lonely American Landscape

A photography series that captures very real and very empty spaces across the United States.


In Sam Stone’s quiet photos, he returns again and again to desert landscapes, white walls, and streetlights at night, searching for what he terms “small and unobtrusive moments of time.”

The moments Stone documents are distinctly suburban, whether it’s an empty road in Utah or Arizona, a storefront in New York or Mississippi, or a house on a street that could be anywhere in America. Stone’s wide open landscapes, decaying buildings, and garish neon always look familiar, in a way that’s specifically American and also very lonely. Most of his images contain no people, and when they do, the subject’s face is often obscured in shadow, or turned away from the camera.

“My primary focus is to photograph reality in an the most accurate way,” Stone says, and his photos certainly feel very real, but in an eerie way. Perhaps it’s the usual absence of people, but even his portraits give off a feeling of detachment, a sense of observation rather than intimacy.

Stone’s photos are almost hyper-real, like well-made movie sets, or enigmatic snapshots from an anonymous photo album found at a yard sale. The sunsets are too perfectly pink, the shadows are too neatly cast over driveways at dusk, the tide is always coming in at exactly the right time. The sense of patience in these shots is evident, the feeling of Stone waiting, carefully ready, for that perfect small moment to arrive.

See our gallery of Sam Stone’s photography below, and find more at his portfolio, built using Format.

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