Simone continued our conversation about Eastern vs. Western landscapes…
She wrote about how she’s come to understand a traditional “western” landscape as: “devoid of people and buildings, and more focused on the grand narrative of NATURE and UNSPOILT WILDERNESS, as often associated with The West (in itself a falsehood – for instance, Ansel Adams cropped the tourists and souvenir stores out of his photos of Yosemite.)”
Cropping … selectively including what you want and leaving out the inconvenient details. So Ansel Adams, the father of American landscape photography, swept the dirt under the carpet.
Rebecca Solnit wrote:
By the time the definitive Adam, Ansel Adams, began photographing in the tradition of his Yosemite predecessors, the myth of Yosemite as an uninhabited place and the U.S. Army’s 1851 invasion as a “discovery” had begun to become dogma. Amazingly, the indigenous population never vanished, as Indians were popularly supposed to have done when they were remembered at all; they merely became invisible in this most visible place in the natural world. Invisible inhabitants of a small valley visited by millions annually, they became invisible in the public imagination of the relationship between nature and culture, perhaps because they had disappeared from the representations that mediated most people’s sense of the place.
The photo above is not by Adams, it’s by Lilledeshan Bose. I’m glad she left the tour buses in the picture.