The Homemade Gun Targets of the American West

Alexa Hoyer takes dreamlike photographs of bullet-riddled found objects amid the sweeping landscapes of Nevada.

by VICE Staff; photos by Alexa Hoyer
Aug 2 2018, 2:03pm

Drive about 30 miles outside of Las Vegas, just off Highway 15, and you will discover a desert landscape occupied by mysterious objects. There are severed mannequin parts, perforated movie star pin-ups, sun-scarred wedding albums, and strange assemblages of discarded consumer goods and debris. Decimated by firepower and bullet holes, these artifacts seem to lose their shape, volume, and surface. They dissolve into the environment like an organic property of the desert.

Over the past few years, Hoyer has been visiting unofficial shooting ranges in Nevada to research, document, and photograph homemade gun targets. Diverse in material, form, and construction, these readymade sculptures punctuate the landscape with a story that is menacing and amusing.

By positioning the targets center-frame, Hoyer bisects the violence and decay with a steady, fixed horizon of desert sky. Viewers stare down the barrel of the lens, from the perspective of the shooter, to observe a hidden constellation of gun culture and the American imagination.

Alexa Hoyer