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Our Own Brutal Use of the Land

In “American Landscapes,” a published collection of photographs from the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art (1981), John Szarkowski writes about wilderness, wildness, public treasures and our human treading upon them. He also writes about what it means to photograph a landscape, to contemplate our apprehension of the “difference between our special human concerns and the earth’s own compulsions.” “We have been half persuaded by Thoreau and by the evidence of our own brutal…