The world of agriculture in California is a formidable buzzing hive of activity whose envoys and practitioners probe every corner of the state's working landscapes. Bold in ambition and vast in extent, California agriculture advances in nooks and crannies where growers experiment with novel crops and clever cultivars rarely before seen, yet soon to be on display in markets across the United States. Some innovations are big, others tiny; some agroindustrial, others organic, and at a boutique scale. All matter, and all make agriculture in California what it is.
Designed for the Fine Art Limited Edition book market, Nevada Rock Art is produced at the highest standards of offset printing, using state of the art color-presses. There are 1,000 limited edition copies, signed and numbered, bound and slip-cased for permanence and aesthetic appeal.
The essayists are Foundation Professors Peter Goin and Paul F. Starrs, and including Angus Quinlan, Executive Director of the Nevada Rock Art Foundation, and posthumously Alanah Woody, and Mark Boatwright, BLM archeologist.
This project focuses on providing a fascinating visual comparison of historical sites in the South Lake Tahoe area. While the community of South Lake Tahoe itself has its city limits, it implies a greater geographical focus, thus the project covers a larger area encompassing forestland and sites technically outside of the city limits. Lake Tahoe is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the United States, and the goal is to present these comparative views so that any reader can be intrigued. The project is educational, non-profit, and designed to provide an increasingly visual library for agencies working to preserve the ecological integrity of the Tahoe Basin, as well as for the general public.
It was late afternoon and a ferocious wind blew. Whirlwinds swirled and danced before dispersing their sand and alkali debris over the dry lakebed. The bellows on my camera twitched in rhythm with the wind, and minute particles of dust seeped into every crack and crevice. On the horizon, large columns of dust obscured the volcanic rock outcropping. An ephemeral rain shower drizzled onto the playa, each drop exploding in a minute cloud of alkali dust.
The Washoe Indians called it Tah-ve, an unfathomable liquid sapphire set in a 500-square-mile reservoir of alpine snow and ice. Too deep and vast to freeze, Lake Tahoe's waters have, over time, reflected pristine forests, barren hillsides littered with slash and sawdust, managed restoration, and the glow of neon casino marquees. Its spectacular natural landscape, shared by both California and Nevada, is more designed than people realize. Man transformed most of the old trees into mine shafts and cities. When the railroad, and later the automobile, domesticated the lake, putting it within recreational reach of the middle class, much of Lake Tahoe's shore became a managed wilderness. Its location along a political border created a unique merger of a naturalist and gaming economy.
For nearly twenty years, I have been using photography as a tool for documenting the evolving landscape. Ranging from asking the question, "…what happens when you place a line upon the landscape?…" (such as a boundary line) to questioning the cultural construction of nature (Humanature, Center for Documentary Studies, University of Texas Press, 1992), this work has resulted in four award-winning publications complemented by numerous articles and museum exhibits, both nationally and internationally.
Water in the American West is sprayed from ornamental fountains, recycled through human made waterfalls, and generated as ocean waves in land-locked wild water oases. A charitable visitor might believe water is plentiful. Yet aridity is inescapable, at least in the Great Basin which includes portions of Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah. Faced with the vastness of brown mountain ranges and a horizon tainted with industrialized air, we can no longer sustain the illusion of plentiful water.
America holds dearly to old ideas of the West as a wild place of majestic space, mountains and deserts, hard-working cowboys and stoic indians. We think of a ranching, mining, and logging economy enlivened here and there with urban centers and outback resorts, but still a bastion of small-town life, individualism, and opportunity. And so it is sometimes--but rarely. The West's most telling reality nowadays is its new social layers: a thriving recreation and tourism industry, a service-based region attracting migrants faster than anywhere else in America, and a postindustrial, high-tech economy creating new jobs in record numbers.
"The control of nature is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man."
Silent Spring, Rachel Carson, 1962
Only within the geologic moment of time represented by the last two hundred years has one species--homo sapiens--acquired significant power to alter the nature of the entire world. The evidence suggests that the Earth itself is becoming an artifact: from creating savanna through fire to contaminating the globe with industrial pollutants and radioactivity to engineering new and radically different plants and animals, human activity initiates and perpetuates pervasive modification of the global habitat. Although this power is both unprecedented and profound, little is truly understood of the long-range impact of this manipulation.
Lake Tahoe is one of America's most pristine, beautiful alpine Lakes. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at 6,229 feet above sea level, the lake is renowned for its crystal clear water and scenic splendor. Surrounded by the Eldorado, Toiyabe, and Tahoe National Forests, Lake Tahoe is one of the deepest lakes in North America -- 1,645 feet deep and covering 193 square miles. Currently supporting nearly 250,000 people, the watershed at Lake Tahoe provides nearly 85 percent of the water for northern Nevada and the Truckee-Donner area.
The Water in the West Project is a photographic response to the growing water crisis that exists because our culture thinks of water as a commodity, or an abstract legal right, rather than the most basic physical source of life. The Water in the West project is a broad based collaboration among thirteen other photographers; selections of our decade long commitment are archived at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson. An important publication documents the origins of the project and places it into context of collaborative photographic projects: Arid Waters, edited by Peter Goin and Text by Ellen Manchester, published by the University of Nevada Press in 1992.
The Atomic Energy Commission, shortly after Word War II, recommended that a 640 square mile "testing ground" be carved out of the 5,400 square mile gunnery range in use by the military in southern Nevada. The testing of nuclear weapons was considered essential to national security, and President Truman authorized the opening of the Nevada Test Site on December 18, 1950. The first atmospheric test at the new site was conducted at Frenchman's Flat on January 27, 1951. Hanford and White Bluffs, Washington had already been "condemned," paving the way for the construction of facilities manufacturing weapons-grade plutonium.
A Photographic Survey of the Mexican-American Border
This is the first photographic survey of the International Boundary and its landscape from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. The region along the boundary supports deserts, rugged mountains, valleys and two major rivers -- the Rio Grande and the Colorado. There are 276 monuments along the land boundary that measures 698 miles from El Paso to the Pacific Ocean, and fifteen pairs of sister cities with a population of more than 12 million.