Across the West and Toward the North compares how photographers in Norway and the United States represented the environment in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when once-remote wildernesses were first surveyed, developed, and photographed. Making images while traversing almost inaccessible terrain—often on foot and for months at a time—photographers created a compelling visual language that came to symbolize each nation.
In this edited volume, Norwegian and American scholars offer the first study of the striking parallels in the production, distribution, and reception of these modern expressions of landscape and nationhood. In recognizing how landscape photographs were made meaningful to international audiences—such as tourists, visitors to world’s fairs, scientists, politicians, and immigrants—the authors challenge notions of American exceptionalism and singularly nationalistic histories.
The book includes stunning photographs of mountainous landscapes, glaciers, and forests, punctuated by signs of human development and engineering, with more than one hundred rarely seen plates by photographers Knud Knudsen, Anders Beer Wilse, Timothy O’Sullivan, Charles R. Savage, and others.
James Welling University of Chicago Press, 2014 Library of Congress TR654.W4187 2015 | Dewey Decimal 779.36
For more than thirty-five years, James Welling has explored the material and conceptual possibilities of photography. Diary/Landscape—the first mature body of work by this important contemporary artist—set the framework for his subsequent investigations of abstraction and his fascination with nineteenth- and twentieth-century New England.
In July 1977, Welling began photographing a two-volume travel diary kept by his great-grandmother Elizabeth C. Dixon, as well as landscapes in southern Connecticut. In one closely cropped image, lines of tight cursive share the page with a single ivy leaf preserved in the diary. In another snowy image, a stand of leafless trees occludes the gleaming Long Island sound. In subject and form, Welling emulated the great American modernists Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, and Walker Evans—a bold move for an artist associated with radical postmodernism. At the same time, Welling’s close-ups of handwriting push to the fore the postmodernist themes of copying and reproduction.
A beautiful and moving meditation on family, history, memory, and place, Diary/Landscape reintroduced history and private emotion as subjects in high art, while also helping to usher in the centrality of photography and theoretical questions about originality that mark the epochal Pictures Generation. The book is published to accompany the first-ever complete exhibition of this series of pivotal photographs, now owned by the Art Institute of Chicago.
Photographs by Keith CarterStory by Bret Anthony Johnston University of Texas Press, 2022 Library of Congress TR660.5.C3685 2022 | Dewey Decimal 778.93609764192
Southern wetlands, with their moss-draped trees and dark water obscuring mysteries below, are eerily beautiful places, home to ghost stories and haunting, ethereal light. The newest collection from award-winning photographer Keith Carter, Ghostlight captures the otherwordly spirits of swamps, marshes, bogs, baygalls, bayous, and fens in more than a hundred photographs.
From Ossabaw Island, Georgia, to his home ground of East Texas, Carter seeks “the secretive and mysterious” of this often-overlooked landscape: wisps of fog drifting between tree branches; faceless figures contemplating a bog; owls staring directly at the camera lens; infinite paths leading to unknown parts. Similarly, spectral images are evoked in the original short story that opens this book. Ghostlight, writes best-selling author Bret Anthony Johnston, “hovers, darts, disappears. It can be as mean as a cottonmouth, as mischievous aes a child. The closer you get, the farther the light recedes.” A masterpiece of “Bayou Gothic,” Ghostlight challenges our perceptions and invites us to experience the beauty of this elusive world.
Chris Helzer illustrates the beauty and diversity of prairie through an impressive series of photographs, all taken within the same square meter of prairie. During his year-long project, he photographed 113 plant and animal species within a tiny plot, and captured numerous other images that document the splendor of diverse grasslands. Even readers familiar with prairies will be fascinated by the varied subject matter Helzer captured with his camera. In addition, his captivating and accessible natural history writing tells the story of his personal journey during the project and the stories of the characters he found within his chosen square meter of prairie.
This book is packed with gorgeous full-page close-up photos of prairie plants and animals, interspersed with a dozen short essays that include both ecology and natural history tidbits and enthralling and gently humorous anecdotes about Helzer’s experience staring into a tiny bit of prairie for one year. Helzer writes eloquently about the conservation value of prairies and uses his photos and stories to reinforce a conservation ethic among his readers.
In 1975, German readers were introduced to the Rheinlandschaften, a collection of stunning images of the Rhineland captured in the first half of the twentieth century by photographer August Sander (1876–1964). This fresh edition, now in English, brings Sander’s work to a new audience and into our own time.
These photographs showcase a variety of scenes, from a sunrise over Cologne to the slopes of the Rhine valley. The Rhine River flows through many of these pictures, its dynamic curves and lively current leading the eye through an intriguing mix of natural and urban landscapes. A new essay by art historian Wolfgang Kemp provides context for Sander’s work while introducing his contemporaries, including the writer Hans Ludwig Mathar and the painter Franz M. Jansen. Also explored are the ties between Sander’s landscapes and his portrait photography, which is celebrated worldwide. Crucially, Kemp highlights the need to consider the Rhineland’s unique political situation in the 1920s and 1930s for any discussion of Sander’s artistic approach.
Shining welcome light on the full range of Sander’s practice, this book offers a glorious journey through the landscapes that most affected him.
“I don’t compose pictures, I find them in the colors, patterns, and shadows of the trees in front of me. While I walk, I let my feelings well up in my consciousness. My feelings guide me to find what I’m seeing and feeling and distill it into a picture.”
A beloved and popular Illinois institution, The Morton Arboretum welcomes one million annual visitors to walk its trails and view the 4,200 tree species on the grounds. Peter Vagt has photographed the Arboretum for over twenty years. This collection showcases eighty-five of his favorite works, each one in full color. Vagt's close attention to place and time reflects both his profound connection to the Arboretum and its preeminence as a sanctuary for anyone in search of transcendence in nature.
A celebration of The Morton Arboretum in its centenary year, Light Through the Trees is the perfect keepsake or gift for anyone who admires trees and believes in their restorative power.
My Wrangell Mountains
Ruedi Homberger University of Alaska Press, 2011 Library of Congress F912.W72H66 2011 | Dewey Decimal 979.83
High atop cascading waterfalls and deep within the lush green depths of the valleys, Swiss photographer Ruedi Homberger has for more than twenty years captured in photographs the majestic beauty of eastern Alaska’s Wrangell Mountain range. In addition to summiting some of the Wrangells’ loftiest peaks, Homberger has in recent years incorporated a technically challenging new approach into his work. Flying above the mountains in a small plane, Homberger literally goes to new heights to reveal a series of stunning aerial views.
The first book-length collection of photographs focusing exclusively on the Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park and Preserve, My Wrangell Mountains offers readers a rare opportunity to “stand among the giants.” Included in this magnificent oversized volume are nearly three hundred full-color photographs and an accompanying selection of sketches by award-winning illustrator Jon Van Zyle.
In Pastoral and Monumental, Donald C. Jackson chronicles America’s longtime fascination with dams as represented on picture postcards from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Through over four hundred images, Jackson documents the remarkable transformation of dams and their significance to the environment and culture of America.
Initially, dams were portrayed in pastoral settings on postcards that might jokingly proclaim them as “a dam pretty place.” But scenes of flood damage, dam collapses, and other disasters also captured people’s attention. Later, images of New Deal projects, such as the Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee Dam, and Norris Dam, symbolized America’s rise from the Great Depression through monumental public works and technological innovation. Jackson relates the practical applications of dams, describing their use in irrigation, navigation, flood control, hydroelectric power, milling, mining, and manufacturing. He chronicles changing construction techniques, from small timber mill dams to those more massive and more critical to a society dependent on instant access to electricity and potable water.
Concurrent to the evolution of dam technology, Jackson recounts the rise of a postcard culture that was fueled by advances in printing, photography, lowered postal rates, and America’s fascination with visual imagery. In 1910, almost one billion postcards were mailed through the U.S. Postal Service, and for a period of over fifty years, postcards featuring dams were “all the rage.” Whether displaying the charms of an old mill, the aftermath of a devastating flood, or the construction of a colossal gravity dam, these postcards were a testament to how people perceived dams as structures of both beauty and technological power.
In 1875, after being acquitted for the murder of his wife’s lover, Eadweard Muybridge spent a year photographing along the Central American Pacific Coast, particularly in Guatemala and Panamá. Upon his return to California in 1876, he published a very limited number of albums of the photographs (11 are known), each of which was unique in size and scope. In 2007, photographer Byron Wolfe (born 1967) tracked down and cataloged every known Muybridge Central American photograph. Then, with cultural geographer Scott Brady, he traveled to many of Muybridge’s sites to rephotograph them. Through photographic collage, interpretive rephotography, illustrations and essays, this book examines an exceptionally rare series by Muybridge. Also included is a catalogue of every known Muybridge Central American picture.
In A Photographer’s Guide to Ohio Ian Adams, Ohio’s foremost landscape photographer, guides you to some of the most photogenic sites in the Buckeye State.
With 3,600 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, more than 120 state parks and nature preserves, and the world’s largest Amish community, Ohio’s photographic subjects are nearly endless. In more than 150 color photographs, Adams shows you how to capture the beauty of the seasons when photographing Ohio’s scenic vistas, nature preserves, waterfalls, public gardens, historic barns and bridges, landmark buildings, and town murals. Accompanied by regional maps, each entry includes clear directions and GPS locations, related websites, and historical facts about the area, as well as Adams’s detailed suggestions for capturing the best images. Both beginners and experienced photographers will find expert guidance in Adams’s clear advice on digital landscape photography and will be inspired to create their own stunning Ohio scenic images.
Winner of the Western Literature Association’s Thomas J. Lyon Award
Whether as tourist's paradise, countercultural destination, or site of native resistance, the American Southwest has functioned as an Anglo cultural fantasy for more than a century. In Translating Southwestern Landscapes, Audrey Goodman excavates this fantasy to show how the Southwest emerged as a symbolic space from 1880 through the early decades of the twentieth century.
Drawing on sources as diverse as regional magazines and modernist novels, Pueblo portraits and New York exhibits, Goodman has crafted a wide-ranging history that explores the invention, translation, and representation of the Southwest. Its principal players include amateur ethnographer Charles Lummis, who conflated the critical work of cultural translation; pulp novelist Zane Grey, whose bestselling novels defined the social meanings of the modern West; fashionable translator Mary Austin, whose "re-expressions" of Indian song are contrasted with recent examples of ethnopoetics; and modernist author Willa Cather, who demonstrated an immaterial feeling for landscape from the Nebraska Plains to Acoma Pueblo.
Goodman shows how these writers—as well as photographers such as Paul Strand, Ansel Adams, and Alex Harris—exhibit different phases of the struggle between an Anglo calling to document Native and Hispanic difference and America's larger drive toward imperial mastery. In critiquing photographic representations of the Southwest, she argues that commercial interests and eastern prejudices boiled down the experimental images of the late nineteenth century to a few visual myths: the persistence of wilderness, the innocence of early portraiture, and the purity of empty space.
An ambitious synthesis of criticism and anthropology, art history and geopolitical theory, Translating Southwestern Landscapes names the defining contradictions of America's most recently invented cultural space. It shows us that the Southwest of these early visitors is the only Southwest most of us have ever known.
In compelling, often stunning black-and-white photographs, The Weather and a Place to Live portrays the manmade landscape of the western United States. Here we come face to face with the surreal intersection of the American appetite for suburban development and the resistant, rolling, arid country of the desert West. Steven B. Smith’s extraordinary photographs take us into the contemporary reality of sprawling suburbs reconfiguring what was once vast, unpopulated territory. With arresting concision and an unblinking eye, Smith shows how a new frontier is being won, and suggests too how it may be lost in its very emergence. Since the early 1990s Smith has been making large-format photographs in California, Utah, Nevada, and Colorado. Based on this body of work, he was chosen as winner of the biennial Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography.
The power of these photographs lies in part in Smith’s unusual knowledge of the places he portrays. Raised in Utah, Smith has worked on construction crews, and he was a contractor in California after living on the East Coast for a few years. When he moved to Los Angeles in 1991, he writes, “I was so astounded by what I saw happening to the landscape as it was being developed that I started photographing it immediately. The landscapes I saw were scraped bare, re-sculpted, sealed, and then covered so as not to erode away before the building process could be completed.”
Smith’s photographs offer a disturbing vision of the future of our planet, where the desire for home ownership is pitted against the costs of development in epic proportions. These altered landscapes force us to consider the consequences of human design battling natural forces across great expanses, a fragile balancing act and a contorted equation in which nature becomes both inspiration and invisible adversary. Smith’s elegant photographs of this constructed universe confront us with the beauty of images as images, yet push us to reflect on the devastation possible in the simple act of choosing a place to live.
Every Sunday evening for almost ten years, Iowa photographer and naturalist Carl Kurtz has e-mailed a photo and an extended caption to hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts. Engaging and informative, the photos focus on the world around and away from his tallgrass prairie homeplace: snow buntings in a blizzard, maple leaves in fall, migrating snow geese and red-winged blackbirds and monarchs, prairie spiderworts in spring bloom, leopard frogs loafing on waterlily leaves, northern flickers feeding young, and all the inhabitants and moods of the passing seasons. Now, in A Year of Iowa Nature, he presents fifty-five of his favorite photos along with an evocative introduction that urges us to go forth and discover the beauty in our own backyards.
Concentrating on Iowa’s tallgrass prairie, Kurtz also points his viewfinder toward the great variety of natural habitats in the eastern United States. Arranged chronologically throughout the year, the fifty-five color photos and their accompanying narratives rotate through the seasons like a nature film. The winter months showcase a frost-covered white-tailed deer, cedar waxwings feeding on winter apples, a muskrat on the surface of an icy pond, and dune-like snowdrifts. Kurtz’s palette warms up in springtime with stunning photos of Virginia bluebells, fox cubs, juvenile chipmunks, and ruddy ducks. Summer brings a host of butterflies, frogs, and goldfinches as well as blooming prairie plants. The colors become more subdued in fall with the change in light, revealing the rich hues of Indian grass and big bluestem and the subtle plumage of migrating warblers.
Just as Kurtz’s Practical Guide to Prairie Reconstruction offers an indispensable manual for individuals and land managers working to create a diverse prairie community, so does A Year of Iowa Nature point the way toward a sincere, month-by-month appreciation of the natural world around us.