My title on this post may not make sense initially, but bear with me. It does mean something to me, I promise. This week, and last week, I have been working on course materials for my Landscape and Nature discussions for my face-to-face History of Photography, and online History of Photography classes. One photographer in particular has always stood out to me, and his work and his message will be the topic of my online class discussion this week. His name is Robert Adams (no relation to the famous landscape photographer, Ansel Adams), and he photographs the landscape in black and white.
His message and his vision are inspired by his “joy in nature’s inherent beauty, yet tempered by his dismay at its exploitation and degradation.” He photographed subjects like clear-cut forests in Oregon, and the sprawl and suburbanization of Denver. He wants to show the destruction, by man, on the environment. I believe he is successful. I recently re-watched an interview he did, and he mentioned another photographer whose concerns were similar, however, in a much different time and place. The photographs of George Barnard show Sherman’s March to the Sea, and the destruction on Southern cities and towns by the Union Army during the Civil War. I took some time to look at his work again, and I was fascinated with some of his shots of destroyed trees, as I’ve taken a similar approach for a project I call Second Amendment. George Bernard photographed the shattered trees to “symbolize the ferocity of the fighting…” during the Civil War.
I photographed the trees you see in my images to question the freedoms our Second Amendment affords us. Are we free to shoot up our national forests, BLM land, and take target practice at an aspen tree? And, by target practice, I also want to emphasize shoot at it until it falls over. Are we free to leave great quantities of bullet-riddled trash in our wild spaces? How about any trash for that matter? Robert Adams, and George Bernard inspired me, to finally put these images out in the open, here on my blog. This project is far from finished; I’m only getting started.