Human Geography

Download Landscape With Figures: Nature & Culture New England by Kent C. Ryden PDF

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By Kent C. Ryden

Kent Ryden doesn't deny that the normal panorama of New England is formed through many centuries of human manipulation, yet he additionally takes the view that nature is in every single place, as regards to domestic to boot as in additional distant barren region, within the urban and within the nation-state. In panorama with Figures he dissolves the border among tradition and nature to merge rules approximately nature, studies in nature, and fabric adjustments of nature. Ryden takes his readers from the published web page on to the sector and again again-. He usually bypasses books and is going to the bushes from which they're made and the landscapes they evoke, then returns with a renewed appreciation for simply what an interdisciplinary, traditionally educated strategy can carry to our realizing of the average international. by means of exploring McPhee's The Pine Barrens and Ehrlich's The Solace of Open areas, the coastal fiction of latest England, surveying and Thoreau's The Maine Woods, Maine's deserted Cumberland and Oxford Canal, and the normal bases for brand new England's ancient id, Ryden demonstrates many times that nature and historical past are kaleidoscopically associated.

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Baars and Rex C. Buchanan with rephotography by John R. Charlton, is a particularly interesting example of a western American rephotography project (figs. 1 and 2). The older photographs in Charlton’s pairs were taken on a 1923 expedition down the canyon led by Claude H. Birdseye, chief topographic engineer of the U. S. Geological Survey, the goal of which was to map the canyon and survey for potential dam and reservoir sites. 16 Despite the density of modern river traffic and the canyon’s popularity as a tourist destination, on the surface the 1991 photographs imply that cultural influence on the landscape has been very slight, limited to some footprints on beaches where rafting parties have camped 22 Big Trees & Back Yards Image Not Available 1.

Given our dualistic view of nature and culture, poor Donald Hefferon seems to have sent himself on a wild goose chase: there is no more nature up there, or anywhere else for that matter. And yet, I wonder if it’s possible to turn that idea around. Maybe the fact of human shaping doesn’t mean that nature doesn’t exist anymore but that nature needs to be redefined: it is not absent but everywhere, close to home as much as in remote wilderness areas, in the city as well as in the countryside. Perhaps it seems defeatist to think of 10 Big Trees & Back Yards nature as an artifact, tantamount to admitting that the occupying army has won, but I believe that thinking in that way is more faithful to the history of the landscapes around us, and ultimately need not change their meaning drastically: does the world really look all that much different to you now after having read this essay?

S. ) 14 The most immediate and eye-catching scenes in Klett’s and Goin’s photograph pairs are those in which there has been an obvious cultural intrusion, the addition of a blatant artifact built by people in the intervening decades: an interstate highway where no transportation path had existed before, a house standing scant feet from where the original camera placement had been — or, as is often the case in Goin’s pictures of the long-settled and long-visited Tahoe region, a bigger and better road replacing a more primitive one, or a cluster of casinos having displaced a small humble settlement.

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