This paper will explore the history and evolution of American landscape photography, concentrating on western landscape art, and culminating in the art of contemporary landscape photographers. It will be taken as axiomatic that those photographers who have dedicated much of their artistic life photographing the American landscape have also concerned themselves with the state of the land more than most. Of course not everyone who has taken a landscape photograph is a dyed-in-the-wool conservationist. On the other hand, it is difficult to believe that anyone who has sought out the landscape as a subject of his or her art on a consistent, often artistic-lifelong basis would look upon a mountain and wish that it would be strip-mined for its minerals, or look upon a desert scene and daydream about how good a shopping mall would look there. So, while photography—as a tool—has been used extensively by those aligned with development, art photographers, for whom the landscape has been their greatest muse, have by and large aligned their art with the cause of conservation and wilderness preservation.
Of course American landscape photographic art did not spring whole cloth as a new genre of visual art. In order to place contemporary landscape photography in context, and to understand the choices that contemporary landscape photographers have in creating their art, we must first understand landscape photography’s roots in landscape painting and earlier American landscape photography.
The Landscape Art Tradition
Chinese Landscape Painting
Those whose cultural horizon is circumscribed by the Western art tradition might be surprised to know that landscape art achieved high status in China far earlier than in the West. As one author on Chinese landscape painting noted, “the landscape is the great subject of Chinese painting, and Westerners are properly amazed at the very early date of its first full expression.” That ‘very early date’ was centuries before the landscape genre achieved a standing in the Western visual art tradition. The Chinese had created a sophisticated concept of nature long before the development of the three main philosophies (Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism) associated with historic Chinese culture, and this concept of nature was bound into these philosophies. Since landscape painting is linked inextricably to nature, such paintings were to become an important element of the art inspired by each of these philosophies. By the 10th century (late Tang dynasty) “landscape painting had evolved into an independent genre that embodied the universal longing of cultivated men to escape their quotidian world to commune with nature. The prominence of landscape imagery in Chinese art has continued for more than a millennium and still inspires contemporary artists.” Not surprisingly then, a Chinese artist will be mentioned again, when the discussion turns to contemporary landscape photography. For now, the important aspect here is to note that the message encoded in landscape art from the very beginning is that a nation’s cultural health is tied intimately to the health of its land.
In Europe, it wasn’t until the 16th century that the landscape painting became more than background for figural compositions. In particular, it was the Reformation that gave the landscape its own standing in the art world. Convulsive waves of iconoclasm swept the Protestant world after its rupture from Rome, resulting in the suspicion by a great many Protestants that paintings, religious paintings in particular, were idolatrous. Since religious art was out of favor among Protestants, artists, particularly those in Northern Europe, turned to pure landscape painting, since such painting “had no overt religious content, although it could be seen as a reflection or even glorification of God’s work on Earth.” This notion that visual art could capture the sublimity of nature and suggest to men nature’s relationship to the sacred would come into play prominently centuries later in United States when a few men, filled with almost religious fervor, would try to convince a nation that abusing its land were acts akin to sinning, sins redeemable only by acts of conservation and preservation.
The Romanticism movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries inspired the next major development in the landscape’s standing in the art world. Since Romanticists thought nature “awesome, fascinating, powerful, domestic, and delightful”, landscape paintings “became perhaps the most important visual vehicle for Romantic thought.” In the fledgling United States, the Romanticism movement inspired the so-called Hudson River School of landscape art, whose first and most prominent artist was the painter Thomas Cole. In what seems to encapsulate the dueling viewpoints about America’s development (some would say exploitation) of its land, Cole’s most iconic painting, The Oxbow (1836), has been interpreted by some art historians as suggesting that the land “is bountiful and ready to yield its fruits to civilization,” even other art historians feel Cole “expressed through his paintings serious doubts about the country’s expansionist tendencies, which he feared would result in the destruction of wilderness as new frontiers were occupied and settled.” The social tension generated between the advocates of exploitation and conservation, a tension that could be captured in the same art, would turn out to be one of the enduring contours of America’s socio-political landscape.
Of course it was America’s western frontier that would soon be the young country’s obsession, a preoccupation that inspired, and was in part inspired by, the western landscape paintings of Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran. But as important as their sublime paintings of the West were to establishing and burnishing the young country’s cultural myths of the western frontier, it was photography that, soon after its invention in Europe and introduction to the United States, would dominate the way American’s viewed and considered its relationship with its Western lands.
19th Century American Landscape Photography
In a testament to the lure of the frontier West and fascination with a new invention, many individuals risked limb, if not life, to capture spectacular images of the post-Civil War era western landscape, despite severe challenges imposed by an often dangerous terrain and an inherently hazardous technology. In the main, however, the history of photography in this period generally revolves around the works of three men, Carleton Watkins, Timothy O’Sullivan, and William Henry Jackson, if for no other reason than their prodigious output of images.
Pertinent to this paper is the duality of their work, especially that of Watkins and Jackson. It is not the duality of ‘documentary’ photography considered ‘art’ photography, although that duality certainly exists. The duality pertinent to this paper is this: images that, for the most part, were made for commercial or governmental agencies to promote, one way or the other, further exploitation of the land, but that were also utilized to promote conservation and creation of national parks. What can be discerned about the motivation behind their landscape art? Does this duality imply a duality in motivation of the image-maker? Certainly both Watkins and Jackson must have been aware that development would significantly alter the fragile western landscape. However, it seems that Watkins and Jackson operated from relatively neutral perspectives; Watkins influenced more by a Modernist-like sense of aesthetics, and Jackson by a more fluid sense of his role as servant to both powerful institutions and changing societal views on land stewardship.
On the other hand, the motivation of the late19th, turn of the 20th century Pictorialist landscape photographers is fairly clear. They wanted to make photographs that would be accepted as art, even if it meant creating photographs that looked more like paintings. For the Pictorialists a ‘photo realistic’ image of a landscape scene was undesirable; they considered mechanically achieved realism as mere documentation and therefore the antithesis of art. An exemplar of their style of landscape (and one of the most expensive photographs ever) is Edward Steichen’s The Pond – Moonlight, However this work, and its ilk, did not much influence later generation of landscape photographers, except perhaps as the way not to photograph the landscape. The Modernists who followed rejected the Pictorialist style loudly and with vitriol, while the Postmodernist who came next were even crueler; they made clear what they thought of the Pictorialist’s standing in the art world by not bothering to appropriate their images.
American Landscape Photography in the 20th Century
The Early Decades
By the start of the 20th century, America’s western frontier existed only in myth, music, and the movies. Still, the cultural memory of a seemingly unending frontier and inexhaustible resources remained strong.
Alarmed by unfettered farming expansion and wretchedly inappropriate soil management in the water-limited Plains and the Mississippi Valley, and in later decades by urban and suburban sprawl in the resource-limited West, the conservation movement that had gone dormant after the establishment of Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks in the 1860s and 70s, re-formed and re-energized. Modernism had taken hold of American art by the second decade, and a number of the Modernist landscape photography masters of this period were closely associated with the conservation movement. In their art they melded Modernist formalist concerns with aesthetic choices aligned to the message and tone of the conservation campaigns, especially those of the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society. The message, while echoing the ancient Chinese view of nature and human society’s interdependence with nature, more directly referenced America’s Emersonian and Thoreauvian natural philosophies. The tone of that message has been described as a form of Social Gospel, a secularized offshoot of liberal Protestantism that emerged in the late 19th century to inject moral values in public debate. The conservationist’s version of the Social Gospel emphasized the spirituality of nature, and the social sinfulness of overdevelopment. They argued that exploiting the land to the point of damage to nature ultimately led to damage to human society.
Spurred on in the 30s by the ecological disasters of the Dust Bowl and horrific Mississippi Valley floods, conservationists, with the aid of Roosevelt’s New Deal administration, did all they could to raise issues of land use and abuse from the local level to the national stage. The focus in these years was on replacing the exhaust-the-land-and-then-move-on approach of the first generation of Great Plains farmers with a national policy of land stewardship. During these years, it was film makers who made the major artistic contributions to the conservation cause, specifically filmmakers Pare Lorentz and Robert Flaherty, although photographers Arthur Rothstein and Dorothea Lange made significant contributions as well. Echoing the Social Gospel theme, these artists essentially presented nature in almost religious terms, casting the ecological disasters, not as the random acts of an unknowing, uncaring universe, but rather as Mother Nature’s retribution for man’s sins against her.
The Post-War Decades
In the post-WWII years, the focus of conservation shifted from stewardship toward preserving remaining wilderness areas. Conservationist argued that in an era of ever increasing social conformity caused by advertising, the ubiquity of mass produced goods and the phenomenon of sprawling cookie-cutter suburban housing, man needed access to wilderness to renew him and restore a sense of self identity. Renowned landscape photographers like Philip Hyde, Ansel Adams, and Eliot Porter, to name just a few, lent their art and moreover their passion for conservation and the preservation of the wilderness to the cause. Photography books, filled with sublime images of nature, and accompanied by text by renowned naturalists and others, became the conservationist’s weapon of choice in their battle against the forces of development and unfettered exploitation of the natural resources.  The key rationale for the photo book was that photography, in the hands of a great artist, could capture the sublimity of nature, thus adding resonance to the Social Gospel and Emersonian and Thoreauvian messages in the text. The philosophers Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant had claimed that the sublime “provokes intense religious emotion and allows people to feel the presence of the deity,” and the conservationist and like-thinking photographers wanted to tap into that passion. Adams thought that “photographs of wild nature carried religious meaning; indeed he wanted to restore an older, more spiritual conception of art.”  Of course the notion that landscape art possessed the power to capture such sublimity harkened back, perhaps unknowingly, to a view of landscape art first developed during the Protestant Reformation.
The photography books, especially the Sierra Club’s prestigious and expensive Exhibit Format series, were credited with playing a significant role in conservation and wilderness preservation successes in that era, in particular for preventing the building of a dam at Echo Park inside Dinosaur National Monument, and the passing of the Wilderness Act in 1964. However, to achieve that image of sublime nature, so important to the books’ messages, western landscapes, wilderness areas in particular, most often were photographed as if the photographer were the first human to come upon the scene. Ansel Adams, who emerged in the 60s as the brightest star in the photographic art firmament, was most responsible for evoking a sense of untouched wildness. John Szarkowski once wrote of Adams: “I think we are primarily thankful to Adams because the best of his pictures stir our memory of what it was like to be alone in an untouched world.” However, such a view of America’s landscape was not sustainable. As Richard Wrigley wrote in the Introduction to his book Ansel Adams, “Today, Adams’ patriotic and pantheistic certainties have become untenable. It remains to be seen whether the ubiquitous debris and environmental decay of the late twentieth century are as photogenic as the textures of undefiled nature which Adams strove so determinedly to capture.” As it turned out, the answer to Wrigley’s question would be provided by another Adams, Robert Adams, and a new generation of landscape photographers.
The Turning Point of the 70s
In 1975 the International Museum of Photography in Rochester, New York, opened an exhibit titled New Topographics – Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape. The exhibit, which featured the works of Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Stephen Shore, and others, marked a turning point in American landscape photography; indeed the ramifications of the exhibit would be felt worldwide and continues to this day. As the exhibit’s title made clear, the exhibit would not feature the landscape photography that American’s were used to seeing in their Sierra Club coffee table books. In a new style of landscape photography, a style anticipated a few years early by the unlucky and now mostly-forgotten Charles Pratt, man’s impact on the land would not be necessarily excluded from the composition:
Their [The New Topographics photographers] photographs were not romanticized images of the vast outdoors of the American West but depictions of everyday suburban sprawl. They focused on manufactured landscapes, paying particular attention to the environment altered by mankind. They looked to the suburban tract houses, strip malls, land developments, and industrial parks that populated the late twentieth-century terrain, making it clear that the idea of an untouched landscape, both past and in the present is a myth. 
For Robert Adams, the truth was more important than the sublime. The truth of man’s alteration of the land did not have to exclude beauty, but the pursuit of the beauty and the sublime would not be at the expense of truth. As he wrote in the Introduction to his monograph What Can We Believe Where? Photographs of the American West, “In common with many photographers, I began making pictures because I wanted to record what supports hope: the untranslatable mystery and beauty of the world. Along the way, however, the camera also caught evidence against hope, and I eventually concluded that this too belonged I the pictures if they were to be truthful and thus useful.”
‘Useful’. What Robert Adams meant by that term was this: he too hoped his images would spur his fellow Americans to reconsider what they were doing to their land. He asked them to reconsider their actions not by presenting them with sublime images of the few seemingly pristine wilderness areas that still existed and asking for its preservation, but by showing Americans what they had already done to their land, and asking them to consider a new course of action. The New Topographics artists and their heirs had exposed the falsity of the myth of the American West. While it was undoubtedly jarring to Americans raised with the landscapes of Ansel Adams, the New Topographics work would soon become the touch point for the next generation of landscape photography. Certainly many photographers would continue to capture nature at its most beautiful. However, the truth—the reality of man’s alteration of the landscape—not the pristine and sublime, would be the overriding concern for most conservation-minded landscape photographers going forward.
In any case, entering the ninth decade of the century, the American mood had changed. Americans were now more cynical due to an unpopular war and because of all the social upheaval of the 60s and 70s. It became difficult for the pristine landscape photograph to be regarded as little more than irrelevant ‘picture postcard’ art. ‘Beauty’ in the arts would be in for a rough decade.
The Postmodernism of the 80s
With the 80s came the phenomenon of the postmodernist movement in art. While it did not sweep away modernism—few art movements have ever completely gone away—postmodernism did hold sway during the 80s. It displaced the Modernist’s standard of aesthetics with its own conceptual standards, which in turn were informed by a grab-bag of what the art historian Geoffrey Batchen called “a variety of sometimes competing theoretical models.” The most prevalent of those models in the American art scene were conceptual art and appropriation of iconic images. In general, American photographers who rose to prominence in the 80s as Postmodernists choose to focus on the social landscape rather than on the natural landscape; they chose to comment on media stereotyping, race, gender, feminism, identity, and the like. The enduring tug of war between conservation vs. development, as a social issue, apparently wasn’t high on their agenda.
So what would a postmodernist ‘landscape’ look like? In his series American Tourist, photographer Roger Minick captured the “essence of the 1980s American tourist” at locations such as the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, and other scenic American vacation spots. In this series, sublime landscapes are merely backdrops to snapshots of garishly dressed Americans—outfitted with the universal paraphernalia of tourists—captured in classic ‘we were here’ poses. In these images, nature is reduced to the status of a prop in a comment about American culture. Americans visit these sacred spots, Minick seems to be saying, not to seek deep renewal of their spirits as proposed by the Social Gospel of conservationists earlier in the century, but rather to check off an item on their travel bucket list. In the 80s and early 90s American photographer Patrick Nagatani, whose father’s family lived outside of Hiroshima, created a series entitled Nuclear Enchantment. Nagatani’s photographs are an emotional comment on America’s nuclear weapons program. In this series, the land—areas of New Mexico associated with the nuclear weapons program—is, as in Minick’s American Tourist, once again not the focus, but rather the foil to a larger social subject.
Of course the New Topographics artists of the mid-70s didn’t disappear, they kept on working into the postmodernist decade and beyond, and they were joined by a legion of followers. Their work, even the specific work of the New Topographics exhibit, has been variously categorized as leading-edge Postmodernist or even Postmodernist. The confusion over categorization is understandable given the radical departure from the landscape art of the high Modernists of the previous generation, and the undeniable element of irony—a frequently used contrivance of postmodernist art—embedded in many of the New Topographics images. It is especially easy to classify New Topographics artists Bernd and Hilla Becher as Postmodernists, and many historians do, because their work—deadpan images, presented in grids, of water towers and other industrial architecture—is far more easily categorized as ‘conceptual’ and ‘typological’ than it is ‘landscape’.
While enthusiasm for the Postmodernist’s view of art waned by the end of the 80s, no discernable art movement replaced it. Now, in the 21st century, aspects of both modernism and postmodernism continue to strongly influence contemporary art.
Contemporary Photographic Landscape Art
With no dominant art movement to dictate the aesthetics of their art, contemporary landscape photographers are free to pick and choose from the vestiges of past art movements; they are free to mix and match as they sit fit. Even sublime beauty, virtually banished by postmodernists, has returned from art exile. However, the intent of the landscape artist in creating his or her art; that is, to stir mankind to reconsider his harmful actions towards the land, continues to be the dominant motivation. Even here, however, there is a subtle, but important change. Where once the emphasis was on specific conservation actions (save this canyon, declare that area protected wilderness), now the focus is more earth-wide and ecological; not preservation of ‘land’, but preservation of an ecological balance that includes land, sea, fresh water, air, plants, insects, and animals. In his Foreword to American Photographers at the Turn of the Century – Nature and Landscape, Thom Harrop, the Managing Editor of Outdoor Photography magazine, wrote:
The photographers presented in this volume share a love of the environment and a desire to see it preserved for humanity and for the endless cadre of flora and fauna with whom we travel. For all of our sakes, we hope that their efforts behind the camera will become a rallying point for a new approach to the third planet, eliminating the casual attitudes which have brought us to our current state.
The freedom of aesthetical expression has led to a great diversity of imagery. There are artists—Colorado’s John Fielder comes to mind—who downplay man’s damage to the environment and capture sublimity in nature, thus referencing the landscape expression of a past era. There are artists, like Edward Burtynsky, who themselves create sublimity by the sheer size of their prints; the scale of the prints matching—and therefore commenting on—the scale of man’s alteration to the imaged landscape. There are artists, like China’s Yang Yongliang, who utilize digital wizardry to create ironic takes on the traditional Chinese ink and paper landscapes of centuries past, with high rise buildings pressed together to take the form of mystical mountains, power line towers taking the form of calligraphic trees, and smog taking the form of mist.
By and large, contemporary artists—artists like Colorado’s Evan Anderman—don’t intend their art for directly confrontational use, as did Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, and the other 20th century Sierra Club photographers. As Katherine Ware has written of the photographs and photographers represented in her book Earth Now: American Photographers and the Environment:
Despite their social content, these pieces were made by people who consider themselves artists. Their work is presented, almost without exception, in galleries, museums, and art-world magazines, rather than being seen in the context of propaganda or advocacy. Following in the tradition of the critical landscape, these photographers bring a spirit of reconciliation to their work, asserting the importance of maintaining our connection with nature despite tensions between the natural and man-made realms. They display an interest in adaptions, compromises, and even, sometimes acceptance. This shift towards a more holistic view that encompasses human life and endeavors as an integrated part of the natural cycle seems to offer a middle path between the conservation ideals of Adams and Porter and the blistering critique of some of their respondents.
In the contemporary approach to landscape art, the artists may care deeply about the land and for the environment, but they capture beauty as they sees it, even if the beauty is a result of man’s damaging alteration of the land. Capturing beauty is a way to encourage people to look at the images. When we look at their images, and study them closely, contemporary artists hope most viewers will see the need to live more wisely than we have to this point in the only home we have in the universe.
Today’s landscape photography can trace its artistic roots to ancient China and, in the Western tradition, to the Reformation of the 16th century. Artists of those eras sought to capture the sublimity of nature, as a way to express a connection between man and the divine. In America, the 20th century started with the Pictorialist, who endeavored to imitate Impressionist paintings. They were followed by early Modernists, who sought to evoke an emotional response to the sublime splendor of seemingly untouched nature. Emerging in the mid-70s were the New Topographics artists who could see no point in portraying pristine nature, given the overwhelming evidence of man’s despoilment. They presented an unflinching and often pessimistic view of man’s impact. Their work marked a turning point in landscape photography. While some contemporary landscape artists continue to mine the conceptual vein first opened by the New Topographics artists, other contemporary landscape photographers have moved onto a new ethic and a new aesthetic. These artists are neither afraid to show man’s alteration of the land, nor afraid to reveal the beauty that sometimes accompanies such change.
If American western landscape photography of the early 20th century sought to show the land as we liked to believe it was and hoped it always would be, contemporary landscape photography seeks to show us our land as it actually is and likely will continue to be—that is, much altered by man, for good or for bad.
 Sherman E. Lee, Chinese Landscape Painting, (Cleveland: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1962), 3
 Department of Asian Art, “Nature in Chinese Culture”, In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–, http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/cnat/hd_cnat.htm (October 2004), (accessed October 24, 2014)
 Kwo Da-Wei, Chinese Brushswork: Its History, Aesthetics and Techniques, (Montclair: Allanheld & Schram, 1981), xv
 Marilyn Stokstad and Michael W. Cothren, Art History (4th Ed.), (New York: Prentice Hall, 2010), 689
 Stokstad and Cothren, Art History, 953
 Ibid., 956
 H. H. Arason and Elizabeth C. Mansfied, History of Modern Art (6th Ed.), (New York: Prentice Hall, 2009), 43
 See Martha A. Sandweiss, in Foreword to Carleton E. Watkins – Photographer of the American West, by Peter E. Palmquist, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1983), xii
 Sandweiss, Carleton E. Watkins – Photographer of the American West, xiv. See also, Peter B. Halles, William Henry Jackson and the Transformation of the American Landscape, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988), 6-7
 Finis Dunaway, Natural Visions – The Power of Images in American Environmental Reform, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005), Chapter 1 Gleason’s Transparent Eyeball
 Dunaway, Natural Visions, Chapter 2 The Decline to Dust
 Dunaway, Natural Visions, 126-129
 Dunaway, Natural Visions, Chapter 5 Nature on the Coffee Table
 In his Foreword to Eliot Porter’s landscape photography book “In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World”, (New York and San Francisco: Sierra Club and Ballantine Books), 1962, David Brower (then the executive director of the Sierra Club) wrote: “This is symbiotic art: Eliot Porter corroborates Thoreau and Thoreau verifies Porter, one never diminishing the other.” The title of Porter’s book is a quote from David Henry Thoreau’s essay Walking
 Dunaway, Natural Visions, xix
 Dunaway, Natural Visions, 129
 John Szarkowski, in his Introduction to The Portfolios of Ansel Adams, (Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1977)
 Richard Wrigley, Ansel Adams, (New York, SMITHMARK Publishers, 1992), 9
 Andy Grunberg, “CHARLES PRATT’S VIEW OF NATURE”, The New York Times, last modified June 27, 1982. http://www.nytimes.com/1982/06/27/arts/photography-view-charles-pratt-s-view-of-nature-washington-dc.html
 Author identified only by initials ‘SMC’, “Topographics”, in Photography – The Whole Story, ed. Juliet Hacking (London: Thames and Hudson, Ltd, 2012), 400-401
 Robert Adams, What Can We Believe Where? Photographs of the American West, (New Haven and London: Yale University Art Gallery/New Haven Press, ) 2010,
 Geoffrey Batchen, Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography, (New York: MIT Press, 1999), 5
 “Binoculars, jean shorts and loud clashing colors: Photographer captures the essence of the 1980s American tourist”, DailyMail.com, last modified April 2, 2013, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2302670/Photographer-Roger-Minick-captures-essence-1980s-American-tourist.html
 For in-depth discussions about the categorization of The New Topographics work, see: Lauren Higbee, Academia.Edu, “Reinventing the Genre: New Topographics and the Landscape”, last modified December 12, 2011, http://www.academia.edu/1947419/Reinventing_the_Genre_New_Topographics_and_the_Landscape
See also: Kelly Dennis, “Landscape and the West: Irony and Critique in New Topographic Photography”, Cultural Landscapes in the 21st Century. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Forum UNESCO University and Heritage 10th International Seminar, April, 2005, http://conferences.ncl.ac.uk/unescolandscapes/files/DENNISKelly.pdf. For the various categories the Bechers’ work have been placed, and for a measure of their influence in the history of photography, see: Hacking (ed.), Photography – The Whole Story, 219, 400-403, 411, 431, 440, 509, 517, 555
 Thom Harrop, American Photographers at the Turn of the Century – Nature and Landscape, author Gregory J. Kroitzsh (Five Corners Publications, 1994), Foreward
 For a discussion of one of Yang Yongliang’s works, Fairyland, see: Frank Mercado, “Fairyland – a Whispered Warning”, Frank Mercado Photography, last modified December 8, 2013, https://www.frankmercadophotography.com/2013/12/fairyland/
 Katherine Ware, Earth Now: American Photographers and the Environment (Albuquerque: Museum of New Mexico Press, 2011), Introduction