Thursday, May 19, 2011
I haven chosen this 'landscape' photograph by Alan MacLean for its stark representation of the taming of the American wilderness. America is famous for its frontier mantality and desire to tame that frontier. Interestingly when the fromtier was ofically declared closed at the end of the 19th Century, America had to find new frontiers to tame. One of those frontiers became nature. Las Vegas Nevada is built inside a natural basin which is full to capacity, as illustrated within the picture that is not enough to hinder Americas drive for progress and the basin walls are now being cut and levelled to provide more room for more identical houses that in the current climate no one can afford to buy.
This image is a simple and posseses no trick photography as used by photographers such as James Gibson and Alexander Gardner who manipulated their photagraph of the civil war to provide greater effect, nor does it intentionally hide elements to provide a false image such as leaving a car park out of a nature shot. What this image does is highlight a realism of American culture in a stark and honest way. Alex MacLean has been described as being 'like batman with a camera.
Except he flies around and takes photos instead of saving people.' The meaning in this likening is that he, like fellow environmental photographer Richard Misrach, uses photagraphs to highlight issues within America and American culture. Another interesting picture taken by MacLean shows a desert storage fascility full of expensive millitary bombers, approxemately fifty eight are visible with signs of many more existing out of shot, mothballed wing tip to wing tip. these images highlight Americas culture of excess and by highlighting metaphors in the land, signify the apparent issues with the potential unmaking of America through continuing and unsustanable growth.