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Fine Art

Mojave magic

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Hover Dam needle test

The Mojave Desert of Las Vegas is no universally adored land of wonder. While some stand in awe of its austere vastness, tranquility and hostility, others yawn at the stretches of brown terrain spotted with tiny flora and jagged mountains.

But Cliff Segerblom knew its beauty. Through his lens, he captured the temperament of the regal landscape while documenting the magic it sparked — from the construction of the Hoover Dam to the development of the glittering façades catering to golden-era Hollywood. Segerblom served as chief photographer for the Bureau of Reclamation's Hoover Dam Project. His work appeared in Life, Time and National Geographic and even made it into the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art. Segerblom photographed landscapes, ghost towns, people, events, buildings and the Havasupai Indian tribe. While living in Panama with his wife, Gene, he photographed the Third Locks Project of the Panama Canal.

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Nevada: The Photography of Cliff Segerblom
March 16-June 13, daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, $5-$19 (children under 5 free).
Springs Preserve Big Springs Gallery, 333 S. Valley View Blvd., 822-7700.

Beginning this month, the Springs Preserve exhibits Nevada: The Photography of Cliff Segerblom, featuring stunning black-and-white images of a changing Southern Nevada. Some of the work has never been shown publicly, according to Dennis McBride, curator of collections and history at the Nevada State Museum, which owns the Segerblom negatives and slides. "People are familiar with his watercolors. That's what he's remembered for," McBride says. "This is the first time he's showcased as a photographer. These images have an artistic value and historic value. So much of what he photographed is gone."

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Kristen Peterson

Kristen Peterson joined the Las Vegas Sun in 1998 as a general assignment reporter. In 2003, she turned her focus ...

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