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Contemporary Responses to the Land_Lecture Notes

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-today relationship with land is not straight forward -so landscape is not a neutral or natural space

- by late 60’s and early 70’s many artists specifically in America were uncomfortable with a straight forward objectification of the land - Photography turned into exploration of human presence -"New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape" was an exhibition that epitomized a key moment in American landscape photography (curated by William Jenkins in 1975)

- seemingly neutral approach to depict the ordinary landscapes that surround us -"The pictures were stripped of any artistic frills and reduced to an essentially topographic state, conveying substantial amounts of visual information but eschewing entirely the aspects of beauty, emotion and opinion,." "[...] rigorous purity, purity, deadpan humor and a casual disregard for the importance of the images.” (Jenkins (curator))

- Stephen Shore was heavily influenced by Conceptualism and Minimalism - embarked on a series of cross-country trips throughout the United States pursuing the work that would become his influential book ‘Uncommon Places’ (1982)

-Shore’s image depicts a vacationing family enjoying a day by the river in Yosemite National Park - his image makes no effort to disguise human presence, instead it shows how Yosemite has become place for enjoyment and relaxation - Unlike Ansel Adams photograph, Shore has chosen to reveal the lack of wilderness - Shore’s emphasis on the common and deadpan quality of the scene

- Image questions the tradition of photographing landscape - Where is the wild landscape of Ansel Adams? –in Shore’s case it has just become an image, a representation

-similar techniques of New Topographics: Joel Sternfeld -together with Stephan Shore, Joel Sternfeld is one of the most important representatives of New Color Photography, which discovered color for art photography in the 1970’s  American Prospects (1987) is Sternfeld's most known book and explores the irony of human-altered landscapes in the United States -

-Nieweg produces images of semi-rural cultivated landscape near her hometown of Bielefeldt in Germany - systematic choice of subject of agricultural fields or allotments and gardens and forensic approach to landscape --follows the theme of ‘Neue Sachlichkeit’ which we discussed in case of Becher’s --so also deadpan aesthetic --signature clarity of vision, diffused light of overcast sky

-she is interested in the interplay between human and nature - interplay between purposeful human planning and t he unpredictable instinctive growth of the natural - Ideas of the linear organization of the land in forms of crops and plough furrows

- contemporary environment as a witness to areas of conflict - contemporary (fine-art) war photography has taken anti-reportage stance, remaining out of the action and arriving after the decisive moment - idea of aftermath as a slowing-down making of image

- Sophie Ristelhueber over her career has photographed the repetition of destruction of nature and civilisation -photographed the 1st Gulf War from 1991, working mainly in Kuwait making aerial photographs of the traces of bombings and troop movement - she draws attention to the scars and traces we leave behind

- Simon Norfolk’s photographs of Afghanistan some of the best-known images to discuss the idea of ‘aftermath’ photography - published book in 2003 Afghanistan “Chronotopia: Landscapes of the Destruction of Afghanistan”

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