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The 1975 exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape, at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York aimed to redefine the genre of landscape in photography. Curator William Jenkins asserted that the photographs in the show were characterized by documentary style, objective description, and status as document. The characteristics Jenkins identified in new landscape photography were first brought to the public's attention by Nathan Lyons' 1966 exhibition Toward a Social Landscape at Eastman House and John Szarkowski's 1967 exhibition New Documents at the Museum of Modern Art. I argue that Jenkins' conception of new landscape photography took part in a growing trend in the 1970s of the theory and criticism of established genres in literature and film. The demythologization of the landscape genre in New Topographics mirrors what film theorist and critic John G. Cawelti described in his 1977 article, "Chinatown and Generic Transformation in Recent American Films," as the demythologization of the genre's founding myth.
genre, landscape, New Topographics, photography, survey, Timothy O'Sullivan
Date of Defense
March 25, 2013.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Art History in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Includes bibliographical references.
Adam Jolles, Professor Directing Thesis; Karen Bearor, Committee Member; Michael Carrasco, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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