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Since well before the debates about global warming and climate change, images have played an important part in bringing changes in nature and the environment to the attention of the general public. Moreover, most of these images have historic precursors. Gisela Parak illuminates how the synergy of photography and science gave rise to a class of photographs of environmental phenomena in the history of the United States of America, and how these images supported and instructed the scientific pursuit of knowledge, and were furthermore used as a persuasive means for directing public opinion.
Gisela Parak is the director of the Brunswick Museum for Photography in Germany and teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart and at Brunswick Technical University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, at Washington University, St. Louis, and at the GHI in Washington, D.C. Her work focuses on the history and theory of photography, American cultural history, and art history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.