By Holly Markovitz Goldstein
This dissertation positions modern images of iconic American frontier websites as visible embodiments of revisionist historical past. Artists Mark Klett, John Pfahl, Deborah vibrant, and Robert Adams use images to re-image and re-write American panorama background; they examine conflicting narratives of nationhood and reinterpret the legacies of nineteenth-century photographers. Klett and Pfahl eventually perpetuate the parable of the frontier by way of suggesting that the kingdom is as appealing and wealthy in assets now because it was once within the 19th century. in contrast, vibrant and Adams depict well-known frontier websites as sleek ruins, revealing that America's ethnic, type, and gender family members and its ecological health and wellbeing are fragile and risky. In bankruptcy One, the Rephotographic Survey venture, created by way of 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 college of historical past, created by means of generations of layered creative, documentary, and advertisement imagery. In bankruptcy 3, Pfahl's Arcadia Revisited sequence employs elegant 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, mostly ignoring the region's present ecological devastation. bankruptcy 4 argues that of Bright's New England-based tasks reveal biases in traditional American old narratives: Glacial Erratic finds Plymouth Rock, a website of imagined patriotic reminiscence, to be seriously inscribed with histories of violence and oppression, and appear depicts crumbling stone boundary partitions as websites of strength and resistance. In bankruptcy 5, Adams's Turning again re-examines the Lewis and Clark excursion at the party of its bicentennial; photos depicting ghastly scenes of big deforestation within the Pacific Northwest exhibit an American dream long past awry. Klett and Pfahl's confident pictures depict an iconic frontier that keeps to draw travelers, encourage artists, and gas patriotism. but Bright's imprisoned Plymouth Rock represents the inconsistencies of yankee background, and Adams's simple forests disclose the tragic aftermath of western exploration.
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Additional resources for American Landscapes as Revisionist History: The Frontier Photographs of Mark Klett, John Pfahl, Deborah Bright and Robert Adams
Depicting a small, cracked rock behind metal bars, Bright transforms Plymouth Rock from an iconic monument of freedom into a lonely captive. Additionally, the Manifest series (2000-2002) depicts stone walls from northern New England as sites of power and resistance. Formerly signifiers of the triumph of civilization over wilderness, the walls are now crumbling and covered by the encroaching forest. 5), Bright brings to light a past that is literally buried by the present. Whereas Klett and Pfahl's photographs essentially highlight the American landscape's enduring beauty, Bright's images employ beautiful aesthetics for a more critical, ironic purpose.
See Michael Foucault, The Archaeology ofKnowledge and the Discourse on Language (New York: Pantheon Books, 1970). I adapt Foucault's discussion of the power and discipline encoded in societies and systems to the ways in which humans and photographs exert power over the landscape. , Understanding Ordinary Landscapes (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997). 65 Groth and Bressi, 1.
New Topographies: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape (Rochester, NY: George Eastman House, 1975). This catalogue and the accompanying exhibition at the George Eastman House helped to establish a new view of the built American suburban landscape. org. 19 Today, Klett, Pfahl, Bright, and Robert Adams's current work best exemplify a fourth touchstone in American landscape photography: they are all artists who reconsider the meanings and mythologies of the frontier by engaging with national history, landscape history, and photography's own history.
American Landscapes as Revisionist History: The Frontier Photographs of Mark Klett, John Pfahl, Deborah Bright and Robert Adams by Holly Markovitz Goldstein