Fine Art Photography Daily

Preston Utley: Today’s West


Antique Store. Denver, CO. ©Preston Utley

Through artful black and white images, Denver-based photographer Preston Utley shows us his vision of Today’s West — a region transformed by transportation, tourism, and development, yet still clinging to old myths and Hollywood clichés. At Grand Canyon National Park, a crowd of tourists obscures our view of an iconic landscape. A movie cowboy grins at us in an antique store in Denver. Stereotypes are very much alive, embodied by a truck cab in New Mexico painted with a logo depicting a “Navajo” girl wearing braids and a feathered headdress. His layered compositions echo those of Lee Friedlander, particularly his creative use of reflections and side-view mirrors as creative framing devices.

Using the road as his vantage point and inspiration, Utley photographed Today’s West on road trips through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, South Dakota, and Arizona. Fittingly, his series will be included in the The Fence, a large-scale open-air exhibition now touring eight U.S. cities with a stop in Denver this spring.


Buffalo Herd Overlook. Genesee, CO. ©Preston Utley

Preston Utley is a freelance photographer based in Denver, CO. His interest in photography began as a way to connect with friends and family and has since spawned into a passion and a lifestyle. He is drawn to moments, light, and the human experience. See more work at:


Diner. Badlands National Park, South Dakota. ©Preston Utley

I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and moved to Denver Colorado the summer before I began 5th grade (1989). My extended family all lived in Utah so several times a year we would drive back to visit. The drive from Denver to Salt Lake City is about 8-9 hours either through Wyoming or through the Rockies along I-70 west. So, as a kid, I spent a lot of time on the road. During most of the drive, I would read or look out the window. I did a lot of looking. In hindsight, sitting there watching the landscape, the light, the billboards, the cars, the animals, and the road pass by, I realize those trips are where I began to learn how to see. These days the road is a way I find inspiration (and it has been for many of the great photographers present and past). I set a destination and photograph along the way taking several days to get to where I’m going. I’m looking for how we experience the road, today’s American west by way of national parks, transportation, and Western clichés. –Preston Utley


Overlook. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. ©Preston Utley


Golden Spike National Historic Site. Promontory Point, Utah. ©Preston Utley


Caldera. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. ©Preston Utley


Skijoring. Leadville, CO. ©Preston Utley


Grand Teton National Park. Jackson Wyoming. ©Preston Utley


Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Crow Agency, Montana. ©Preston Utley


Rest Stop I-25 Southbound. Colfax County, New Mexico. ©Preston Utley


Albuquerque Downs Racetrack. Albuquerque, New Mexico. ©Preston Utley


Main Street. Bozeman, Montana. ©Preston Utley


Mule Deer. Vail, Colorado. ©Preston Utley


Colorado National Monument. Grand Junction, Colorado. ©Preston Utley


Dirt Road Along I-25 Northbound. Wyoming. ©Preston Utley

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