Some of the images were made from an ultralight plane, and a few show the photographer’s feet dangling into the frame. The aerial perspective allows sweeping views of epic terrain, mostly in Nevada and California, as well as of the unexpected tidiness of the annual Burning Man festival. Seen from above, the fest’s curved arrangement of RVs, tents, bicycles and small planes in the open desert appears as meticulous as the L’Enfant Plan. Photos of the event made from ground level depict Arabesque structures designed to be used for just a week, yet are larger and more opulently detailed than the tiny permanent homes MacKenzie found in a West Virginia trailer park and on piers along the Mississippi River in Minnesota.
Crisp, vast and detailed, MacKenzie’s pictures recall 19th-century landscape paintings. They include classical touches, such as framing a motocross rally in the craggy California desert with bikers at both extremes of the composition. But the photographer is as interested in homey details as in dramatic topography. A survey of 12 firmly planted trailers shows the gardens, steps, decorations and retaining walls that indicate both permanence and personality; the vehicles at a Florida RV park are lined up along canals as if the waterways were streets. Even when they’re camping out, humans can’t help but arrange themselves into makeshift cities and town.