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In Plane Sight

Alex MacLean's aerial photography puts our development-happy city in its proper perspective

MacLean's overhead images show the before and after of development in West Houston Subdivision.
MacLean's overhead images show the before and after of development in West Houston Subdivision.

And then paranoia sets in. The images of urban sprawl and petrochemical plants would be more abstractly fascinating if you didn't freakin' live here. It's a train-wreck kind of fascination: You are transfixed by the image until you realize it's you stalled on the tracks in a Ford Pinto with an exploding rear gas tank. You think, Damn, look at what's going on here! Who gave them permission? What the hell were they thinking? Then it dawns on you that "they" is actually, well, us. Sure, you didn't build the refinery, but you do drive a car. You do shop at Wal-Mart. It makes you want to run out of the gallery, screaming, "Soylent Green is people!" Maybe that's not quite the right film reference, but you get the drift.

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