Reframing the New Topographics
Greg Foster-Rice, John Rohrbach
Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, 2010 - Photography - 233 pages
In 1975 the exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape crystallized a new view of the American West: the sublime “American” vistas of Ansel Adams were replaced and subverted by images of a landscape inundated with banal symbols of humanity. Organized by William Jenkins for the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, New Topographics showcased such photographers as Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal, Frank Gohlke. Their pictures, illustrating the vernacular, human-made world of contemporary America, punctured the myth of the pristine, wild American landscape—and definitively changed the course of landscape photography.
Reframing the New Topographics offers the first substantive analysis of this shift and the continuing influence of an exhibition that not only reshaped the look and subject matter of landscape photography, but also foreshadowed environmentalism’s expansion beyond the mere preservation of wilderness. The essays in this anthology will add an important new dimension to the studies of art history and visual culture.