© Andrew Phelps, “untitled” from the series Haboob, 2011.
“Haboob” is photographer Andrew Phelps’ follow-up project to his 2008 series “Higley.” Once a small rural town in Arizona, Higley was finally swallowed up in 2007 by the explosive growth of metropolitan Phoenix. Rural structures disappeared, and were replaced by housing development and shopping malls. Village roads became grand boulevards. But the financial and real estate crisis abruptly ended the construction boom. Now, sandstorms called haboobs, which are typical of the Arizona desert, blow through the deserted town, and symbolize the fear and insecurity of the middle class. Phelps, who was born in nearby Mesa, Arizona in 1967, is exploring from a personal perspective what remains of the American Dream in the area. The project has been published as a book called Haboob by Kehrer Verlag, and it is currently on exhibit at the Robert Morat Gallery in Hamburg, Germany until January 12, 2013.