On this site: landscape in memoriam
In this sobering collection of photographs, Joel Sternfeld looks at fifty places where violence has stained the American landscape. Arriving long after news photographers have gone, he presents us with the landscape that is left behind, the ordinary site that remains after the tragedy. Free of the sensationalism of contemporary reporting, these unadorned images, and the brief text that accompanies them, have a surprising power, allowing us to contemplate the meaning of what has taken place, and what has been lost. In this work, one of the most acclaimed photographers of our time extends the documentary tradition, finding a way to visualize our beleaguered national sense, shaken by decades of violence. This groundbreaking work asks that we broaden our conventional definition of violence to include the consequences of corporate irresponsibility and governmental indifference. These picture stand as a heartfelt memorial. They mark sites that have become an indelible part of the American landscape. They ask us to stand on that difficult threshold between what has happened and what little remains; between what we know and what cannot be understood. This, too, is the American landscape.