No continent offers its space like America in such proximity to so vast a network of urbanization. Nowhere are the expanses of wilderness so marked by the signs of human intrusion. To experience the physical scope of America involves a westward motion.
Books about Edward Weston's life and work have become an identifiable category of photographic book publishing. Each year summons forth new volumes treating one or another aspect of Weston's long and remarkable career; we might expect this trend to accelerate, at least through the centennial of Weston's birth in 1986.
NINETEENTH-CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE AMERICAN LANDSCAPE
We try hard not to be sentimental, not to feel more emotion for a subject than it deserves. Old landscape photographs are, however, sometimes cited as temptations. If the open America we loved is gone, then its recollection and the grief that inspires may be useless.
Every medium creates a primary illusion, as Suzanne Langer clearly suggested in her seminal publication Feeling and Form (1953). The novel creates an illusion of memory; music creates the illusion of passing time; drama creates the illusion of history.
Some facts: On May 18, 1980, Mt. St. Helens in the Cascade Range of southwestern Washington state erupted explosively, two months after the first signs that a 123-year period of dormancy was ending. An earthquake caused the weakened north face of the mountain to avalanche into the Toutle River valley, instantaneously releasing the pressure on the upwelling magma below.
In a recent essay entitled Looking at New Mexico, J. B. Jackson reflects upon the close interplay of the Southwest's natural cycles and the Pueblo rituals that are attuned to them. He asks, "which came first: the blessing or the prayer?" Elsewhere in the forth-coming book, The Essential Landscape (University of New Mexico, 1985), Jackson describes the Colorado Plateau, that vast region made up of parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado: "What makes the landscape so impressive and so beautiful is that it teaches no copybook moral, no ecological or social lesson.
ROBERT ADAMS' latest book, Summer Nights, will be published by Aperture in Spring 1985. Adams will have one-person shows in May at Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco and the Burden Gallery in New York. DAVID AVISON continues to work with his personally designed wide-angle panoramic camera, now focusing on the leisure activity of people in Santa Fe.