By Holly Markovitz Goldstein
This dissertation positions modern pictures of iconic American frontier websites as visible embodiments of revisionist background. Artists Mark Klett, John Pfahl, Deborah vibrant, and Robert Adams use images to re-image and re-write American panorama heritage; they examine conflicting narratives of nationhood and reinterpret the legacies of nineteenth-century photographers. Klett and Pfahl eventually perpetuate the parable of the frontier via suggesting that the state is as attractive and wealthy in assets now because it was once within the 19th century. against this, vibrant and Adams depict recognized frontier websites as sleek ruins, revealing that America's ethnic, category, and gender kin and its ecological well-being are fragile and risky. In bankruptcy One, the Rephotographic Survey venture, created through Klett, JoAnn Verburg and Ellen Manchester, makes use of geological repeat-photography to guage current landscapes opposed to the previous; this intentionally banal comparability of "then" and "now" situates the western frontier as a altering indicator of nationwide cultural identification. In bankruptcy , Klett's panoramic photograph- collages of Yosemite and the Grand Canyon place the West as a university of historical past, created through generations of layered creative, documentary, and advertisement imagery. In bankruptcy 3, Pfahl's Arcadia Revisited sequence employs chic and picturesque aesthetics to depict today's Niagara Falls because the attractive vacationer vacation spot it was once designed to be a century in the past, principally ignoring the region's present ecological devastation. bankruptcy 4 argues that of Bright's New England-based initiatives divulge biases in traditional American historic narratives: Glacial Erratic finds Plymouth Rock, a domain of imagined patriotic reminiscence, to be seriously inscribed with histories of violence and oppression, and occur depicts crumbling stone boundary partitions as websites of energy and resistance. In bankruptcy 5, Adams's Turning again re-examines the Lewis and Clark excursion at the party of its bicentennial; images depicting ghastly scenes of big deforestation within the Pacific Northwest display an American dream long past awry. Klett and Pfahl's confident images depict an iconic frontier that maintains to draw travelers, motivate artists, and gas patriotism. but Bright's imprisoned Plymouth Rock represents the inconsistencies of yankee heritage, and Adams's straight forward forests divulge the tragic aftermath of western exploration.
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Extra resources for American Landscapes as Revisionist History: The Frontier Photographs of Mark Klett, John Pfahl, Deborah Bright and Robert Adams
B. 64 Edited by Groth and Todd Bressi, the 1997 anthology Understanding Ordinary Landscapes outlines a framework for the field of cultural landscape studies; the authors garner information about culture and history through close studies of place. "65 In the "cultural" landscape, the ordinary lies alongside the sublime; the barren is as valued as the beautiful. Everyday landscapes can be viewed as archives, or repositories, of layered meaning. Jackson defines landscape as "a composition of man-made or man-modified spaces to serve as 62 Deborah Bright; interview with the author; 28 February, 2009, Cambridge, MA.
Limerick employed Klett's rephotographic pair as "evidence" of the frontier's resiliency and ability to evolve despite the actions of humans. While photography, and especially rephotography, can be a convincing way to "prove" historical narratives, viewers must remember to consider the biases inherent in all images, and question what lies outside of Klett's predetermined frame. 60 This dissertation proposes visual history to be a fruitful method with which to re-image history, just as Limerick, White, and others re-write history.
W. Norton, 1966). S. Surveys, 1850-1890 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007); Kelsey, "Viewing the Archive: Timothy O'Sullivan's Photographs for the Wheeler Survey, 1871-74" The Art Bulletin (Dec. 1, 2003); and Joel Snyder, American Frontiers: The Photographs of Timothy H. O'Sullivan, 1867-1874 (Millerton, NY: Aperture, 1981). For a more critical and contextual view, see Rosalind Krauss, "Photography's Discursive Spaces: Landscape/View" Art Journal (Winter 1982), 311-319. For a traditional formalist approach, see Naef.