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Pairing Panoramas With Punch Lines

September 18, 1997|ROY RIVENBURG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

New York radio personality Don Imus and his brother, Fred, who describe themselves as "not members of Mensa," grew up branding cattle, hanging out in saloons and occasionallywatching gunfights on a 35,000-acre ranch in northern Arizona.

Later, in the 1970s, they began taking pictures of the region. Spectacular pictures.

In "Two Guys Four Corners" (Villard)--an often hilarious but somewhat obscenity-strewn coffee-table book--they share their photographs and their perspective on America's Southwest.

Sample snapshots and captions:

* A panoramic photo of Monument Valley, Utah, in silhouette: "The Southwestern equivalent of the New York City skyline minus anything with Donald Trump's name on it."

* Arizona's Oak Creek Canyon: "Sedona was once the most charming spot in the Southwest and the location of one of the major positive energy vortexes in the world. It is now a pretentious yuppie [dung-hole] filled with cheap curio shops and annoying fat tourists who've sucked all of the propitious energy out of the place, leaving in its void an amorphous mass of negative vibes."

* A petroglyph-covered rock in Arizona's Painted Desert: "We arrest [people] in New York City for drawing this kind of [crap] on subway cars."

* Looking out a shadowy window in the Chaco Canyon Anasazi ruins of New Mexico: "You should be able to see the motorcade from here, Mr. Oswald."

* Fred Imus' comment when paying a Navajo woman $40 to herd her sheep to a picturesque spot: "We just want to take their picture, not have sex with them. Although, a couple of 'em are kinda cute."

* On the amount of talent needed to immortalize the region's amazing scenery: "Here's a photo tip for those of you who are not professional photographers possessed of the artistic genius to capture the subtle beauty of the Southwestern desert: Check to be sure there is film in your camera. In other words--any moron could have taken this. And in fact, a moron did take it."

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