Against a stark horizon in a harsh climate, settlers in Nebraska everywhere erected monuments to their optimism. The buildings pictured in Dreams in Dry Places
are not just famous landmarks like the State Capitol but also humble farmhouses, barns, grain elevators, courthouses, banks, churches, stores, and theaters. They represent every kind of architecture to be found in Nebraska--folk, high-style, commercial, residential, pioneer, and modern; the unexpected and the familiar, the poetic and the prosaic, good and bad. Caught by Roger Bruhn's camera, these structures always suggest the spiritual resources of their builders and inhabitants, who struggled for a livelihood on the Great Plains.
Dreams in Dry Places has an architecture of its own, beginning and ending with images of the natural landscape and in between revealing unexpected continuities among disparate structures and settings, juxtapositions of forms, and the vanities and vagaries of architectural style. Exterior and interior shots are combined to show how a sense of openness pervades design. The 118 photographs are in black and white--the color of dreams. In his introduction Bruhn writes, "With images alone, I hope to make you feel something about striving, about aspirations, about dreams."