Yosemite in Time.
Ice Ages, Tree Clocks, Ghost Rivers.
Photographs by Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe. Text by Rebecca Solnit.
Trinity University Press, San Antonio, 2005. 144 pp., 60 duotone and color illustrations, 12x9¾".
Signed copies available!
Walking in the illustrious footsteps of the original western
rephotographic survey of the 1970's, and its sequel,
the Third View project, this book is in a sense a zoomed view with an accompanying narration. Yosemite in Time
is the brainchild of photographers Mark Klett and Byron
Wolfe, and writer Rebecca Solnit, and its completely collaborative
quality is the first of its stratified pleasures.
Wolfe, Solnit and Klett have refined and pared the interdisciplinary
approach used in the Third View project,
exchanging ideas and brainstorming techniques while
spelling each other at the wheel. The lively and inclusive
nature of this corps of rediscovery seems to have been
extended as well to the artists who originated the ways
we have come to think about Yosemite (and perhaps
American wilderness as a whole): Eadweard Muybridge,
Carleton Watkins, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams.
Much of the inspiration for rephotography is, of course,
to better understand the original impulse behind the
choices, both documentary and aesthetic, of Western
Ur-photographers; a further benefit is the opportunity
to see physical evidence of the passage of time.
Yosemite in Time takes this process further by merging
the calculated precision of re-placement of the camera
in time and space with the more intuitive, less perspectivally-
correct use of numerous panoramas. By imbedding
the original views in contemporary (mainly color)
panoramic collages in original and instructive ways, the
authors manage to rehumanize what might otherwise
seem exhausted ways of seeing. Digital imaging technology
has been used sparingly and appropriately to
locate the past and the present with respect to each
other, and the integrity of the effort is greatly enhanced
by Solnit's text, which weaves the pictures into an
appropriately layered critical/historical whole.
Ultimately, she and her collaborators use Yosemite as
the quintessentially American means to ask larger questions
about timelessness, human vision, and the relentless
nature of change. PHIL HARRIS
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ZC561-LTD Limited Edition is no longer available.