Rephotographic Survey: Or Further Notes on the New West

So I traded some emails with a friend of mine.

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And I think he hit the nail on the head.

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A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk about my work at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester.

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And when I gave this talk, I talked about a potential project I’ve started, a series of photographs and writings made in my hometown of Denver, CO.

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These photographs clearly owe a great deal to Robert Adams and the whole New Topographics movement.  (In this picture above, the empty lot in the foreground, each year when I was a kid, we’d go to this lot to buy our Christmas Tree.)

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(This is a synagogue, I went to my friend Jonathon’s bar mitzvah here.)

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Back in the day, the American government commissioned a number of photographers to go out west and document the landscape for development.  And then later, there was another commission, in which about a hundred years later a group of photographers were asked to photograph the exact same views again.  The two commissions were then displayed side by side.  The project was eventually published as a book called Second View.

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In his email, my friend characterized this new project of mine as a rephotographic survey, an attempt to rephotographic my life and experiences in the times of The New West, the times of these seminal photographic works by Robert Adams.

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And like I said, he hit the nail on the head.  My friend, he got it right.

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The pictures in Born in the New West are a different sort of a rephotographic survey.

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