Black Rock


Paperback Edition
By Peter Goin and Paul F. Starrs

In a brilliant duet, a photographer and a geographer explore this eloquent, enigmatic landscape that has been the focus of study and contemplation by scientists, explorers, naturalists, overland sojourners, and artists.

Black Rock is a collaborative book by the celebrated geographer Paul F. Starrs and photographer Peter Goin. It is also a major exhibit: more than twenty years of exploring, photographing, experiencing.

The eight literary essays of this project are elemental. Four are rooted in air, fire, earth, and water. But four more are also the children of a quartet of decidedly different perspectives. One looks from directly overhead, in an orthogonal view. Another is oblique — from thirty degrees of incline, sighting down, at an angle. Third is a profile view — at ground level and looking horizontally. But the last look is taken from below the surface of the playa, that great plane of clay and saliniferous deposits, abraded and graded by scouring sand, that makes it such a popular site for rocketeers, four-wheelers, or the children of the Burning Man. As for the elements, in the desert they are everything, especially in this one. Air is the shaper of ventifacts and playa lakes, forming dunes and drifts, chiseling and abrading. Fire — subterranean, in mantle-based heat that moves mountains, cracks faults, and shapes springs, is all about. Water and earth interact everywhere; true, when water prevails desert disappears; but as much, when earth, or soil, dries, the land is bared.

Purchase Options: Black Rock

Center for Basque Studies Bookstore – University of Nevada, Reno – Third Floor, North Entrance of the Mathewson-IGT Center map

Nevada Museum of Art – Store The Museum is located at 160 West Liberty Street in downtown Reno.

Sundance Books and Music – 121 California Avenue, Reno NV

Nevada Wolf Shop – 87 West Stadium Way, Reno NV

Humboldt Museum – 175 Museum Ave, Winnemucca, NV 89445

Northeastern Nevada Museum – 1515 Idaho St, Elko, NV 89801

Museum of New Mexico Press Bookstore – Order form for retailers and individuals.

Friends of Black Rock High Rock shop – 320 Main Street, Gerlach NV

Nevada Historical Society  1650 North Virginia Street, Reno NV

Barnes & Noble Bookstore –

Powell’s Books – Portland OR

Amazon Books

Buy Now – Black Rock, paperback (2010), $30.00

Special Editions

Black Rock, Special Edition with Jacket (2006), $325.00

Special Edition with Jacket

Special Edition with Jacket

This limited edition of Black Rock, is covered in a special jacket. An original color photograph, Moonrise over Black Rock, printed by Peter Goin, is mounted to the front cover. A letterpress printed map decorates the back of the jacket, with a color line individually striped by Paul F. Starrs. This special edition jacket was constructed and printedon letterpress by master printer, John Balkwill, Lumino Press, Santa Barbara, California. The edition size is 125 copies.  ORDER


Black Rock, Special Edition with Slipcase (2006), $1,750.00

Limited Release

Special Edition with Slipcase

Announcing a special slipcased, jacket edition of Black Rock with an original print, Faux Ferns, suitable for framing. The Moonrise over Black Rock photograph is tipped-in, embedded on the jacket. A letterpress printed map decorates the back of the jacket, with a color line individually striped by Paul F. Starrs. A special project printed and carefully constructed at The Lumino Press, Santa Barbara, California, for the museum and Fine Art book collector.

In a limited edition of only 25 copies, Black Rock is signed by both authors, including Gary Snyder’s signature on the verso of the Playa gatefold (excerpted poetry from Mountains and Rivers Without End). Only 12 copies remain for sale! ORDER

About the Authors

5590-GOIN-FULL from Nevada News Article

Peter Goin is an internationally renowned photographer and the author of numerous award-winning books including Nuclear Landscapes (Johns Hopkins University Press) and Humanature (The Center for the American Places and the University of Chicago Press). He is co-founder and President of Black Rock Institute Press and Foundation Professor of Art at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Paul F. Starrs is Foundation Professor of geography at the University of Nevada, Reno and the author of Let the Cowboy Ride: Cattle Ranching in the American West (Johns Hopkins University Press).


Black Rock goes beyond the literate, learned, and playful flair of Paul Starrs’s language and the art, irony, and honesty of Peter Goin’s photographs. The ideas in both visions—the intellectual statements of what place means—distill the relationship between people and landscape to its physical essence.”—Stephen Trimble

“Peter Goin and Paul Starrs have produced an elegant piece of work that captures the essence of the Black Rock Playa and the mountains, meadows, and desert valleys that surround it.”—The Geographical Review