My New Topographics
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art writes, “A turning point in the history of photography, the 1975 exhibition New Topographics signaled a radical shift away from traditional depictions of landscape. Pictures of transcendent natural vistas gave way to unromanticized views of stark industrial landscapes, suburban sprawl, and everyday scenes not usually given a second glance.” Photographers such as Robert Adams, Stephen Shore and others are known for their photographs of a “man-altered landscape.”
I have always loved these types of rather deadpan photographs but have never known way I am drawn to them. Recently I spent some time at the Salton Sea. It had been many years since I was there and I realized that having grown up in Southern California, I have been immersed in these types of scenes without thinking about them - landscapes that have been changed by humanity with our cars, constructions, signs, roads and abodes, with almost with no escape from them. I found myself automatically drawn to these “minor” landscapes and the inescapable human element that marks them so strongly. I found both humor and a quirkiness there that I relish. But also was aware of an underlying layer of sadness about them - the fact that the desert is forever changed by our heavy hand.
Jodie Hulden 2023
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