«Landscape in Artifice: Contemporary Photographic Trends as they Relate to Environmentalism CIS Senior Project Sage Cichock Advisor: Bill Sonnega May ...»
The image itself is composed of hundreds of unrelated parts, yet these pieces can function to depict a holistic picture of nature. Her inclusion of human subjects enhances this ability because even though they were never present to view this nature, the relationship of the humans to this artificial landscape produces a platform by which Gutschow's audience can understand their view. More specifically, humans can understand the view for Gutschow's subjects as the individual view resulting from their ability to relate through personal experience of seeing views like this reinforced through framed representations. In the contemporary mindset, as truth is no set definition, a subjective truth in landscape can be formed in images such as this, even if that truth holds no ties to an original referent.
Gutschow's conflict of trace and simulated construction all drive serious questions of the role of the real in contemporary perspectives of nature. Her images, like those of other tableau landscape photographers, combine signs which viewers recognize and code as nature, but these signs are now of a status much different than at their origins. As Baudrillard stated, “It is no longer a question of imitation, nor of reduplication, nor even parody. It is rather a question of substituting signs of the real for the real itself” (Baudrillard 4). This concept is where the familiarity of tableau is of significant consequence since the composition of landscape is historically tied to origins once existing in reality, but these signs have now been extracted to produce simulated landscapes which do not necessitate the real. The growing separation between the constructed human world and the natural world has elevated the role of landscape imagery as a means by which to build relationships with nature. Gutschow's photographs show the foreseeable danger in prioritizing images for these purposes. In a culture which can trust her simulations, further changes and destruction of nature could go unnoticed.
The practices of digital nature simulation, as well as nature as constructed diorama are only startling insofar as their capacity for replacement of images of the nature that exists presently in the contemporary world. Twenty-first century nature may not be as stunning or iconic as the nature presented in the “timeless” representation of painters and photographers of the pre-industrial eras, but nature does not have the quality of timelessness. Furthermore, in this century of industry's impacts on nature becoming more prevalent and urgent, prioritizing and longing for these representations ignores the malleability of the natural world. Nature has changed, arguably in negative ways, but this nature can still be improved towards a vision of sustainability and environmental appreciation. Although the subjectivity of truth in post-modernity has led to the widening of classifications of real and authentic, this same relativity can be applied to forming new understandings of nature, natural, and landscapes. If beauty and truth are relative, both simulacra and nature in reality can exemplify beauty, but must do so in different ways. These forms need not be in competition so long as they symbolize their differences as well. Nature functions as a sign of many meanings in contemporary culture, the first and foremost being life. For this organic life to be fostered, comprehended, and recognized, the role of the photograph and the disparities between real and hyperreal must be understood.
1. "AmyStein.Com." Amy Stein. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2012. http://amystein.com/.
2. Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill and Wang, 1981.
3. Baudrillard, Jean. Simulations. New York City, N.Y., U.S.A.: Semiotext(e), 1983. Print.
4. Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting, 1972. Print.
5. Boime, Albert. The Magisterial Gaze. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1991. Print.
6. Bruckle, Wolfgang. "Almost Merovingian: On Jeff Wall's Relation to Nearly Everything." Art History 32.5 (2009): 977-95. Academic Search Premier. Web. 03 Mar. 2013.
7. Clark, Kenneth. Landscape into Art. New York: Harper & Row, 1976. Print.
8. D'Alleva, Anne. Methods & Theories of Art History. London: Laurence King, 2005. Print.
9. De Zengotita, Thomas. Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It.
New York: Bloomsbury, 2005. Print.
10. Dunaway, Finis. Natural Visions: The Power of Images in American Environmental Reform.
Chicago: University of Chicago, 2005. Print.
11. Goldstein, Ann, and Anne Rorimer. "Marks of Indifference: Aspects of Photography In, or As, Conceptual Art." Reconsidering the Object of Art (1995): 247-67. Scribd. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.
12. Gutschow, Beate. "Beate Gutschow." Beateguetschow.net. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2013.
13. Heartney, Eleanor. Postmodernism. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge UP, 2001. Print.
14. Jackson, John Brinckerhoff. Discovering the Vernacular Landscape. New Haven: Yale UP, 1984.
15. Jeffrey, Ian. "An Art of Consciousness." Art and Design 10 (1995): 75-77. Print.
16. McLuhan, Marshall, and Lewis H. Lapham. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.
Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1994. Print.
17. Rancière, Jacques, and Gregory Elliott. The Emancipated Spectator. London: Verso, 2009. Print.
18. Sontag, Susan. On Photography. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977. Print.
19. Trodd, Tamara. "Thomas Demand, Jeff Wall and Sherrie Levine: Deforming 'Pictures'" Art History 32.5 (2009): 954-76. Academic Search Premier. Web. 01 Mar. 2013.
20. Wall, Jeff. "Jeff Wall." MoMA.org. Museum of Modern Art, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.
2. Adams, Ansel. Grove, Lyell Fork of the Merced River. 1902-21. Photograph. ArtStor. Web. 5 May 2013.
3. Adams, Robert. Fort Collins, Colorado 1976. 1976. Photograph. Fraenkelgallery.com. Web. 5 May 2013.
4. Adams, Robert. Interstate 10, West Edge of Redlands, California. 1985. Photograph. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. Sfmoma.org. Web. 5 May 2013.
5. Bierstadt, Albert. The Rocky Mountains, Lander's Peak. 1863. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manhattan, New York. Wikipedia Images. Web. 5 May 2013.
6. Cole, Thomas. The Oxbow (View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm). 1836. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manhattan, New York. Wikipedia Images.
7. Cropsey, Jasper F. Starrucca Viaduct, Pennsylvania. 1865. Wikipedia Images. Web. 5 May 2013.
8. Delacroix, Eugene. The Death of Sardanapalus. 1827. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France.
Wikipedia Images. Web. 5 May 2013.
9. Durand, Asher B. Pastoral Landscape. 1861. Wikipedia Images. Web. 5 May 2013.
10. Gutschow, Beate. LS #10. 2001. Photograph. Beateguetschow.net. Web. 5 May 2013.
11. Gutschow, Beate. LS #13. 2001. Photograph. Beateguetschow.net. Web. 5 May 2013.
12. Gutschow, Beate. LS #3. 1999. Photograph. Beateguetschow.net. Web. 5 May 2013.
13. Hokusai. Ejiri in Suruga Province. 1760-1849. Fujiarts.com. Web. 5 May 2013.
14. Lorrain, Claude. Landscape with Flight into Egypt. 1647. Wikipedia Images. Web. 5 May 2013.
15. Stein, Amy. Hillside. 2007. Photograph. Amystein.com. Web. 5 May 2013.
16. Stein, Amy. Howl. 2007. Photograph. Amystein.com. Web. 5 May 2013.
17. Stein, Amy. Untitled, from "Domesticated" 2007. Photograph. Amystein.com. Web. 5 May 2013.
18. Wall, Jeff. The Destroyed Room. 1978. Photograph. Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York.
19. Wall, Jeff. Storyteller. 1986. Photograph. Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York. Jeff Wall Interactive MOMA Exhibit. MOMA. Web. 5 May 2013.
20. Wall, Jeff. A Sudden Gust of Wind. 1993. Photograph. Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York. Jeff Wall Interactive MOMA Exhibit. MOMA. Web. 5 May 2013.