Landscape Photos Capture the Past and the Imaginary

This article by David Schonauer on Vantage highlights landscape photography of the past and present that ultimately helps us understand places unlike any other medium.

Out There Landscape Photos Capture the Past and the Imaginary

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Hetch Hetchy Valley. Photo by Matt Ashby Wolfskill (courtesy of Library of Congress)

(Intro to article) Some photographs preserve what is gone. Some capture places that were never there. Both are landscapes worth visiting. Over the past few weeks, there have emerged many stories and projects that deal with landscapes and the people who dwell in them.

We’ve learnt about places from the past that have disappeared — the Hetch Hetchy Valley of California’s Sierra Nevada, the twin of Yosemite that was dammed in 1923 to create a reservoir that holds 85% of the water used by San Francisco.

Elsewhere, we’ve seen documentary work on countries that are unrecognized by other states, such as ghostly Abkhazia, once a holiday spot for the Soviet elite, and the country of Transnistria, which may or may not be part of Moldavia, depending on your viewpoint.

Then there are landscapes that were created for a future that never arrived.

There are some places that only photography can take us. Read on


David Schonauer is editor of Pro Photo Daily. Follow him on Twitter. Jeffrey Roberts is publisher of Pro Photo Daily and AI-AP. Follow Jeffrey on Twitter. Follow Pro Photo Daily on Facebook.

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