By Holly Markovitz Goldstein
This dissertation positions modern images of iconic American frontier websites as visible embodiments of revisionist background. Artists Mark Klett, John Pfahl, Deborah shiny, 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 finally perpetuate the parable of the frontier by way of suggesting that the country 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, category, and gender family members and its ecological healthiness are fragile and risky. In bankruptcy One, the Rephotographic Survey undertaking, created by means 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 picture- collages of Yosemite and the Grand Canyon place the West as a college 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 appealing 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 disclose 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 show up 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 huge deforestation within the Pacific Northwest display an American dream long gone awry. Klett and Pfahl's confident images depict an iconic frontier that maintains to draw travelers, encourage artists, and gasoline patriotism. but Bright's imprisoned Plymouth Rock represents the inconsistencies of yank historical past, and Adams's uncomplicated forests disclose the tragic aftermath of western exploration.
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Extra info for American Landscapes as Revisionist History: The Frontier Photographs of Mark Klett, John Pfahl, Deborah Bright and Robert Adams
Xi-xii. Patricia Limerick and Richard White, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History lecture on "American Environmental History: Land," April 17, 2009, Cambridge, MA. 59 31 Klett reaches the same location in 1979. 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.
Colonial settlers evaluated their new world by its plentiful, dramatic natural resources, differentiating it from the old world. From the seventeenth century through the present, artistic and documentary depictions of the landscape have defined the expansive country for its citizens. As the previously "unknown" American landscape was explored, inhabited, and possessed by European-Americans, images played a central role in defining it as a symbol of the vastness and richness of the country itself.
Theoretical Approaches: Revisionist History, Cultural Geography, Geology Landscape photographs are created and used by scientists, geologists, geographers, and historians in addition to artists, and the "American frontier" is a dynamic concept best approached through interdisciplinary study. While this dissertation's central framing methodology employs revisionist history, particularly the New Western History, it also draws from cultural geography and theories of geology. This project is theorized both formally and contextually, and each chapter is framed around a core series of images depicting a region from America's shifting frontier.