In contrast to Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter, the photographer Mark Klett started showing evidence of people in his pictures of the natural world: a shadow, a cup, a car, a hiking boot. We all know that human beings are part of the natural world, but mainstream American culture has developed in lots of ways that separate us from that truth. Klett wasn’t interested in presenting an idealized view of nature, but he experienced so much pleasure and awe on his road trips and hikes that he wanted to reassert not only the value of the wilderness but also our right to experience it firsthand.
Several bodies of work in Earth Now are about reestablishing a connection with the world around us. Chris Enos’s painted photographs from the Gaia series are meant to be hung low on a wall and are proportioned so that it feels like you can walk into the scene (please don’t). Subhankar Banerjee, who is known for his work in the Arctic, decided to photograph his home environs near Santa Fe. Much of Victor Masayesva, Jr.’s work deals with his relationship with ancestral lands in the Southwest. I am hoping to use some of these pictures to show young people that “the environment” isn’t something abstract, but that it is right under their feet, it is flowing in and out of their lungs.
What are some of the ways you connect with the amazing world around you, un-Edenic as it may be?