I’ve always been a technology person. Whenever I visit my parents it’s a miracle if I don’t have to fix the computer, tv, camera, or somebody’s cell phone. But there’s also a part of me that is drawn to nature as well, so the main things that stuck with me from discussions in this class have to do with the relationships between nature and technology. As I was preparing for my painting and doing some research about it, I started to see two different sides of the issue emerge. Continue reading
Although he’s a lot more recent than many of the other artists we’ve talked about in class, Carlton Ward has many similar objectives to traditional nature photographers such as Ansel Adams.
Ward started out photographing rain forests and deserts in Africa before turning his camera closer to his home of Florida. Despite the Everglades being drastically different from most of the national parks, the same qualities can be seen in how Ward documents the area.
My last post was a little political as well, but I guess it’s hard to escape it these days. I’ve been hearing such extremist opinions and views coming from both sides of the political spectrum, and frankly it’s exhausting. The majority of people I’ve personally talked to don’t feel that strongly one way or another. Obviously, they’re not completely neutral because everyone has one issue or another that they care about or affects them. But in general, most people I talked to were moderate, leaning one way or another.
So what does this have to do with national parks and the environment? I’ve noticed that a lot of people who get involved with environmental issues tend to get carried a little overboard with it. Even if the individual is moderate, the overall image that environmentalists have is very extreme. You know the type.
I think the goals that most of these people have are honorable, and I actually agree with a lot of them, but I think that they way people go about it is all wrong.
I’ve had this idea for a while now, and when we started talking about our final project in this class I thought it could fit in. Knowing me, I won’t ever get it done on my own without a clear deadline, so hopefully I can combine my idea with this class and I’ll actually do it!
I’m taking a painting class this semester, and I’d forgotten how much I loved it, so I was hoping to do a painting for this project. My major, though, is graphic design, and both my jobs are in graphic design, and pretty much everything else I do is related to technology. I spend most of my days in front of computers. At first it was hard for me to relate nature to what I’m surrounded by every day. The more I thought about it, though, and the more I read, I drew some connections between the two and how people interact with them.
Asher Durand’s Kindred Spirits (1849) at first appears to be a picturesque landscape, but upon closer inspection it has undertones of man’s dominance of nature. The painting features two men- painter Thomas Cole and his friend, writer William Cullen Bryant- standing on a rocky outcropping overlooking a river valley. The landscape is very typical for the time. The scene is framed by a cliff on the right side and a group of trees on the other. It even has the stereotypical storm-blasted tree in the lower left corner.
While the painting consists of mostly nature, it is clearly not the focus of the artwork. The two figures are near the center of the painting and there is nothing obstructing our view of them. They are looking out at the landscape, surveying it. It shows their mastery over nature. The landscape is there for their viewing alone. Even the title of the painting shows that the point of the painting is not the natural environment, but the men in it and their reactions and interactions to it. Either way, nature is just a backdrop for the conquests of men.
As I was reading Frederick Law Olmstead’s Yosemite and the Mariposa Grove: A Preliminary Report, 1865 for next class, I came across an idea that we’ve touched upon before, and it really bothered me. Near the end of his writing, Olmstead is going through the details of the plan to preserve Yosemite as a national park and discussing the more administrative side of things. He outlines a plan for the upkeep and preservation of a national park. I think the word he used was “maintenance.” This strikes me as so unnatural, it’s almost laughable. The average visitor may not realize how much effort goes into keeping the “natural” landscape exactly how it is, but once you get a glimpse of that, it takes away from the overall effect of the park.