Books of landscape photography are some of the best sources for inspiration and wonder - as well as information - about the land and our relationship to it. The Center’s library in Los Angeles has a growing collection of contemporary landscape photography books, donated from authors, publishers, and resellers. Some recent additions on this subject include the following recommended titles.
Shifting Nature, Photographs by Wayne Barrar
Essay by Geoff Park, University of Otago Press, 2001, 120 pages
Some of Barrar’s wonderful photographs of the built landscape (waterworks, electrical infrastructure, erosion control structures, etc.) are assembled in this book published in New Zealand, where Barrar teaches. He has recently completed a stay at the CLUI residence program in Wendover, Utah, to photograph salt works and mines in the region. Photographs from his Wendover stay will be exhibited at the CLUI in the future.
Sites of Indian Massacres, Battlefields, and Treaties
Photographs by Drex Brooks, Essay by Patricia Nelson Limerick,
University of New Mexico Press, 1995, 163 pages.
A nice “site” book, exploring the history of Indian/white relations in America through captioned black and white photographs of, as the title indicates, sites of Indian massacres, battlefields and treaties. Taken between 1986 and 1995 by the photographer Drex Brooks, the photographs depict, for the most part, the empty place where events transpired.
Mark Klett, Photography, and the Reinvention of Landscape
by William L. Fox, University of New Mexico Press, 2001, 309 pages
Mark Klett is perhaps best known for his work with the rephotographic survey, which made contemporary photographs of the same views depicted in the work of early western landscape photographers like Timothy O’Sullivan. With the rephotographic work starting in the 1970’s, enough time has elapsed to rephotograph these rephotographs, which Klett is now doing in a project called Third View. Bill Fox, who has written a number of books about western landscapes, considers the implications of this multilevel photography and other elements of Klett’s work, and recounts his travels with Klett’s crew from Arizona State University.
The Great Wide Open:
Panoramic Photographs of the American West
by Jennifer Watts and Claudia Bohn-Spector, Merrell Publishers, 2001, 160 pages
This catalog from the exhibit at the Huntington Library discusses the evolution of panoramic photography and the relationship of the medium to the history of the development of the western United States. Many gatefolded samples.
Industry, Architecture, and Engineering
by Louis Bergeron and Maria Teresa Maiullari-Pontois, Abrams, 2000, 288 pages
A nice, hefty compendium of American engineering landmarks (factories, bridges, smelters, etc.) covering 200 years (1750 to 1950). Sharp black and white images, mostly from the HAER (Historic American Engineering Record) archives. Maybe the best book on the subject, due to the broad range of sites, and quality and amount of images.
Photographic Narratives of the Desert West
Whitney Museum of American Art, 1996, 248 pages
The catalog for the monumental Whitney exhibition of 1996 covers the full range of western landscape photography, from Alexander Gardner to Richard Misrach, and many things in between. Essays by more than 20 people, including Mark Reisner, Robert Sobieszek, and Terry Tempest Williams.
Then and Now series
Thunder Bay Press, 2000-2001
The premise for this series of “rephotographic” photo books is simple: every other page has a historic photograph of a scene, usually an urban landscape, and the facing page has a contemporary view of the same place, from the same perspective. While a common practice, it is none the less very effective in describing landscape change, and the results are sometimes very compelling. Regions covered in this series so far include Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Washington DC.