Enemies of Nature--and Photography?

I admit to a fascination with photographs about the marks humans make on our landscape. Fine-art photographers in particular have taken up this study, with the likes of Emmet Gowin and David Maisel creating aerial images that read like abstract painting and drawing. Some of these are so beautiful, in fact, that they really cease to be an indictment of our stewardship of the earth. Their creators would disagree, I know. But I know that I’ve looked at such pictures, so handsomely made, and pretty

I admit to a fascination with photographs about the marks humans make on our landscape. Fine-art photographers in particular have taken up this study, with the likes of Emmet Gowin and David Maisel creating aerial images that read like abstract painting and drawing. Some of these are so beautiful, in fact, that they really cease to be an indictment of our stewardship of the earth. Their creators would disagree, I know. But I know that I’ve looked at such pictures, so handsomely made, and pretty much forgotten that their lines, tone, and color are often the product of human disrespect. (Below, Emmet Gowin’s view of off-road vehicle tracks along Utah’s Great Salt Lake; David Maisel’s image of strip mining in Arizona.)