About Joe Handley

I currently working on my Bachelors of Science in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies at the University of Montevallo. I enjoy nature and how it works as a whole. Nature is a beautiful thing that Americans seem to take for granted on a daily basis. I would love to see people become aware of the natural phenomena, things happening beyond control of mankind, that occurs in nature.

Forever Wild: To Conserve or Not To Conserve?

I am basing my project off the work of Carlton Ward, an environmental photojournalist who promotes conservation of natural environments. I became interested Carlton Ward and his work when Dr. Wacker introduced the artist to our class. I am an avid outdoorsman and have a passion for the natural environment. My passion for the outdoors is what has fueled my interest for this project. My purpose or goal is to tell a story through photographs, but not just any story. I want to open people’s eyes to the conservation of the natural environment and its’ inhabitants. I hope to spark a new interest in the natural environment and raise awareness of how important it is to humans. I have attached my entire slideshow for my project: Forever Wild: To Conserve or Not To Conserve Continue reading


America’s Wilderness

Ansel Adams is a well known artist that captured marvelous images of landscapes. He was a conservationist that encouraged respect towards the environment and seemed to portray that in his photographs. Every photo captured by Adams was well planned and gave nature a tranquil feel. The photo below was taken from a vantage point that gives a notion of nature being untouched. There are no humans, no vehicles, no visible trails, and no roads. It is almost like Adams is the first person to see the landscape, almost as if it is virgin territory and he wants others to experience in that sense.

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The Great Smoky’s Troubles

I recently came across many articles about the national parks and became very intrigued about several of them. One of the articles that I found interesting was about the Great Smokies National Park. http://www.nps.gov/grsm/historyculture/stories.htm

The article talks about how much people overcame for this land to become a national park. There are a few sections of the article that seemed to stick out more than others. One section talked about the people who were most interested in creating this park, while another defined the difference between a national park and national forest. Many people were in a disagreement on whether to consider the land a national forest or national park. Finally, they decided to work together on creating this land to become a national park. Continue reading

Yosemite National Park Facelift Yields Over 20,000 Pounds of Trash

I found this article to be shocking to say the least. America has set aside over 84 million acres of land to “preserve”, hence our national parks. After reading this article I had a few questions about our intentions of preserving something: What does is it mean to preserve a park?, Does the impact humans have on the parks take away from preserving it?, and Are we truly preserving the land when we leave a negative impact on it? http://www.nps.gov/yose/parknews/facelift2012.htm


Water + Trees + Mountains = Landscape

I have been browsing through many landscape paintings on the Internet and have noticed that many of them consist of water, trees, and a mountain scene or rock bluffs. Take Asher B. Durand’s – Progress The Advance of Civilization (1853), Frederick Edwin Church’s, Cotopaxi (1862), and Albert Bierstadt’s, Looking Down Yosemite Valley (1864) for instance, they all contain water, trees, and mountains. Each one can hold a different meaning depending upon the artist or viewer of the painting. The artist will paint landscapes with his or her interpretations hoping the viewer will see what they see, but that is not always the case. I can look at a painting and have one point of view while someone else can have another. My goal is to portray the different meanings that water, trees, and mountain scenes can hold within landscape art. I will look at Albert Bierstadt’s, Looking Down Yosemite Valley in particular to give the different meanings of each physical attribute.
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Forever Wild: To Conserve or Not To Conserve?

I am working on a minor in Environmental Studies and would like to take a different approach to the project. I want to combine our studies of Art and Environmental Studies by giving a prospective of nature with animals in mind. I believe nature would not be the same if it were not for the animals. In my opinion, the wild animals are what make nature so beautiful. It seems that the animals paint a different picture every day because they are using the land to survive. Birds build nests, beavers chew trees, and rabbits dig burrows are all examples of animals surviving by painting a different picture on a day to day basis. I will show how wild animals can contribute to the aesthetic view of nature and how much their presence in nature means to us as humans. Continue reading

American Progress and the Native American Struggle

John Gast’s painting of “American Progress” refers to modernization, to the idea of advancement and improvement in areas of technology, politics, economics, and sciences. A very influential marketing piece, the story the painting tells connects progress with achievement, development, and expansion. Euro-American men were actively participating in what they saw as a God-granted right, a historical destiny they were helping to manifest, as they moved forward across the plains towards the Rockies and beyond. The idea of manifesting a historical destiny can only lead one to the Manifest Destiny, brought about by John O’Sullivan, a newspaper editor. O’Sullivan claimed that America had been chosen to drive out the wilderness and bring light of civilization across the Americas through expansionism.  Continue reading