Using landscape photography to reflect on broader notions of culture, the passage of time, and the construction of perception, photographers Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe spent five years exploring the Grand Canyon for their most recent project, Reconstructing the View. The team’s landscape photographs are based on the practice of rephotography, in which they identify sites of historic photographs and make new photographs of those precise locations. Klett and Wolfe referenced a wealth of images of the canyon, ranging from historical photographs and drawings by William Bell and William Henry Holmes, to well-known artworks by Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, and from souvenir postcards to contemporary digital images drawn from Flickr. The pair then employed digital postproduction methods to bring the original images into dialogue with their own. The result is this stunning volume, illustrated with a wealth of full-color illustrations that attest to the role photographers – both anonymous and great – have played in picturing American places.
Rebecca Senf’s compelling essay traces the photographers’ process and methodology, conveying the complexity of their collaboration. Stephen J. Pyne provides a conceptual framework for understanding the history of the canyon, offering an overview of the its discovery by Europeans and its subsequent treatment in writing, photography, and graphic arts.
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Rebecca Senf is Norton Family Curator at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and at the Phoenix Art Museum. Stephen J. Pyne is Professor, Human Dimensions Faculty, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University. He is the author of How the Canyon Became Grand.