River of No Return.
Photography by Laura McPhee, preface by Robert Hass with an essay by Joanne Lukitsh.
Yale University Press, New Haven, 2008. 160 pp., 6 black & white and 94 color illustrations., 12½x10".
The idea of the American wilderness has long captivated artists fascinated by the ways in which its unspoiled natural beauty embodies the nation's identity. This beautifully produced volume celebrates the unsurpassed splendor of a fabled region, while also resenting the environmental complexities of managing a vast landscape in which the needs of ranchers, biologists, miners, tourists, and locals seek a finely delineated balance.
Photographer Laura McPhee follows in the tradition of 19th-century artistic approaches toward the sublime, relying on a large-format view camera to capture images of exquisite color, clarity, and definition. In images of exquisite color, clarity, and definition. In images spanning all seasons, McPhee depicts the magnificence and history of the Sawtooth Valley in central Idaho. Her subject matter includes the region's spectacular mountain ranges, rivers, and ranchlands, its immense spaces and natural resources; its immense spaces and natural resources; the effects of mining and devastating wildfires; and the human stories of those who live and work there. Featured texts set McPhee's photographs in the context of the work of American predecessors including Frederick Sommer and J.B. Jackson, and discuss her working methods and experiences photographing the evolving landscape.