In 1975 The George Eastman House in Rochester, NY opened a small exhibition titled “New Topographics: Photographs Of A Man Altered Landscape,” that changed the way we think about photography and the art of landscape. While it launched a new photographic style and conceptual framework for a traditional artistic genre, it also re-affirmed photography’s powerful ability to describe the particular configuration of place. In some cases the camera is the tool of artists; in other cases of geologists, military strategists, or NASA mapmakers. On the occasion of a new tour of the original show (now jointly organized by the George Eastman House and the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography), SPI has selected topographical photographs from a variety of Smithsonian archives. Click the image to start the slideshow.

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See the full schedule for the exhibition on George Eastman House’s website.

Merry Foresta is the Former Director of the Smithsonian Photography Initiative.

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