Book Review Essay / Essai sur un compte-rendu de livre - The Wasteland—An essay on Manufactured Landscapes -

Book Review Essay / Essai sur un compte-rendu de livre
The Wasteland—An essay on Manufactured Landscapes

Jonathan Bordo
Trent University

A Review of

Burtynsky, Edward. Manufactured Landscapes. Yale University Press, 2004.

After all a devastated landscape is still a
landscape. There is beauty in ruins.
Susan Sontag1

Spectacular Pictures

1 Spectacular is the only word to describe the initial visual impact of this portfolio of photographs.2 Consider for example the photograph caption from the third portfolio entitled “Quarries”—in which a whitish and luminous mass appears as an ornament, a golden crown, emerging from a forest verdure, an apparition whispered by the very legend of the caption, “Carrara Italy.” The photograph is dreamlike and resembles a painting, rather than a photograph, of the fabled Carrara, the marble of the art makers of the Italian Renaissance. In the photographs that follow, the viewer is invited to ponder the meticulous custodianship of a five-hundred year-old extraction process. The quarry and the formats of the photograph mimetically coincide. Some of the Carrara photographs make the quarry appear as a smooth white space, so flat that one looks horizontally at the surface as much as one would look down at it. Strange, remarkable, spectacular even, that Burtynsky should pay homage to the art of the Renaissance with a number of photographs that invoke the illusion of deep pictorial space—a quality invented by Renaissance artists. Others disclose their materiality as masses, volumes and color in accordance with modernist notions of flatness and surface. “Quarries” brings to mind an anecdote from the building plans for the Edward Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University. Initially, the builders wished the library to be built with white Carrara marble, but their effort to acquire it was denied because it would have exhausted the supply. The Beinecke builders settled instead for domestic and regional Vermont green marble (the green perhaps emulating the fortune made in green stamps by Beinecke). One wonders if fulfilling their order exhausted Vermont’s Rock of Ages quarry (plate 20).3

2 “Quarries” is situated in the middle of the collection. It shows a process of extraction that recalls craft values which predate the industrialization of the earth’s treasures. Sitting in the middle of the book, “Quarries” is anachronic, out of time and out of step with the photographs that unfold on either side of it. The photographs in this portfolio bring us from the elegance of extraction at Carrara to the laborious sobriety of Rock of Ages in Vermont, to the ruins of Makrana, India (doubtless the oldest and most weathered). The mournfulness of these photographs exposes a different tenancy of humans on the surface of the earth, a tenancy marked by its very rootedness in contrast to the records of twentieth century industrial degradation of the earth’s surface that is ubiquitous, transient and atopical. “Quarries” sits between “Urban Mines” (Portfolio 4), with its stored and packaged detritus of technological production, and the toxic wasteland of “Mines and Tailings” (Portfolio 2). Burtynsky shows photographs of massive technological intervention at targeted sites from three perspectives: as active and productive utilities in “Railcuts” (Portfolio 1) and in “Oil Fields and Refineries” (Portfolio 5), as the ruins of the earth caused by the technologies in “Mines and Tailings” and as technological ruins that are the technologies themselves in “Urban Mines” and “Shipbreaking” (Portfolio 6), which closes the topical bracket opened with “Carrara Italy.”

3 Burtynsky thus alternates between the photograph as visual record of disaster and the photograph as intense, charged and abstracted colour field. Above all, these photographs aspire to project a painterly allure, diminishing what the photograph actually shows. This oscillation between looking out and looking at, is brought to a climax in “Shipbreaking” which shows behemoths of steel as technological ruins and gargantuan modernist forms that would fulfill Richard Serra’s wildest fantasies.

4 Such are the six portfolios that comprise the volume. If I have chosen to read them, not in order from the first, with its almost cheerful, commercial promotion of the train called “Canada” through the Rockies, it is because the photographs, instead of unfolding as if there were a page-driven orderliness, are better engaged as a stack, or as six suites of cards that make up the deck of photographs. It is the viewer’s choice to arrange them, against the inevitable linearity of a book. How they unfold and how they relate to each other, what might be called their topography, is open to invention and interpretation. In the Art Gallery one can wander free of the catalogue and the yellow brick road of official instruction.4 The writing that precedes these photographs is thick and authoritative, concerned with imposing a frame around the photographs so that the viewer doesn’t stray too far to break the official order of the stack. The spectacular of these photographs is deliberately tied to the comparisons that are made between paintings and photographs. The viewer is invited to participate in this show-and-tell as part of the directed tour.

5 Thus, in the first instance, spectacular belongs to the look of the photograph, to the affect, the way it strikes the beholder. Added to the phenomenon, it is in excess of the thing itself. A photograph, however spectacular, is still a photograph because it necessarily is what it shows, however striking its allure. In this respect, the photographs of Edward Burtynsky recall late medieval and early Renaissance Christian art in the way that gold was used to signal the special sacred character of personages and events. Gold backgrounds, predellas, halos and frames within frames were semiotic devices to proclaim the symbolic and the sacred.

6 Burtynsky accomplishes a halo-effect by a diversity of photographic means: the apparatus of a view camera, the format and oversize of the prints (to be compared in their Gallery scale to the paintings and photographs of the 19th-century American landscape sublime to which his photographs seem obviously allied) and the use of colour that breaks from the photographic purity of the black and white tradition of American landscape photography (e.g., Carleton Watkins and Ansel Adams, whom Burtynsky explicitly acknowledges). The developing process itself, which is evocative of both early 19th-century photographic tinting and the palette and surface materialities of American abstract expressionist painting contribute to the halo effect as well. His most spectacular photographs appear as paintings. The photograph owes its power precisely to its necessary adhesion to the referent (what the photograph shows) in contrast to the media of painting and writing which have such a tenuous relation to that which they symbolize. Because of Burtynsky’s ambition to make his photographs artful, many of them appear to undermine what they signify.5 Tampering with the photographic referent in order to expose the photograph as a picture object, is an arduous enterprise full of paradox, disturbance and the concern that the spectacular effect might erode the referent itself. Is the weakening of the referent’s hold on the photograph the price to be paid for aesthetics? Is the cost justified?6

The Photograph as Document

7 These questions lead me to consider another, more basic sense of spectacular that belongs to the unique character of the photographic image—that is the relation that photon has to graphos, light striking a glass plate (or film). Photography has always induced a sense of magic and conjuring—a descendant of the “harpies and augurers,” to use Walter Benjamin’s phrase.7 Even the renowned French theorist Roland Barthes advanced, against a career advocating a semiotics of cultural coding, a “magic realist” theory of the photograph, as the following passage from Camera Lucida affirms:The realists, of whom I am one and of whom I was already one when I asserted that the photograph was an image without a code—even if, obviously, certain codes do inflect our reading of it—the realists do not take the photograph for a copy of reality but for an emanation of past reality: a magic not an art….8Because of the initial physico-mechanical inscription of light on a glass surface, a process independent of any intervention by an operator except for the opening of the lens to admit the light, the object, or the real, is “inscribed,” as if it were a kind of automatic writing. An image emerges through the second chemical process. The photographic image is a copy of the real because it is its emanation. A photograph is a Platonic conundrum: though a diminished real, a photograph is a real all the same. Photographs show what they are and are what they show. For this reason photographs are considered as natural witnesses to the real— witnesses in the sense that the photograph emanated from something that was there. Like a stone that was there, a photograph is an inchoate marker through time. A photograph is like a painting because it represents, except that, unlike a painting, it was there; whereas it remains to be proved whether the painting is what it shows. Thus a new witness object comes to arise with the photograph.

8 This self-authenticating property, so well articulated by Barthes, creates a new document. Every photograph is potentially a field of study because the photograph shows that something is, without identifying the whom, what, where and why of what it shows. This surely is what Barthes intends by his use of the term studium to designate the “informational” aspect of the photograph.9

9 Photography transforms the archive of memory, adding to it a new object that not only could be stored along with written documents and artifacts, but also, as Baudelaire remarked, can serve to rescue the contents of traditional documents and artifacts from ruin by replacing them. As part of his critique of the aesthetic pretenses of the photograph, Baudelaire asserted that the photograph, while performing perfectly the role of “le secrétaire et le garde-note de quiquonque a besoin dans sa profession d’une absolue exactitude matérielle ... was even more useful and effective “dans les archives de notre memoire because “…elle sauve de l’oubli les ruines pendants, les livres, les estampes et les manuscripts que le temps dévore, les choses précieuses dont la forme va disparaître….”10 A reliable datum that can substitute for the things themselves, a photograph is thus a new material of and for history itself. Baudelaire wrote his critique of the aesthetic pretensions of the photograph in 1859.

10 These considerations lead to a casual distinction between the photograph-as-document and the photograph-as-artifice. The photograph is yoked to what I call its “evidentiality.” The look of the photograph, its artifice, is built on top of the photograph’s “thingness.” I have suggested that the “spectacular effects” of Edward Burtynsky’s images have been achieved by setting these two attributes of the photograph in radical opposition. At least initially, one can look at his photographs without knowing anything about them. One is inevitably captured by their painterliness. Indeed this binary opposition between photographic evidence and photographic artifice red circles the artfulness of his photographs as images. By deflating the evidential real in favor of aesthetic value, Burtynsky destabilizes the very ontological character of the photograph. The spectator is thrust into an ambiguous situation of pondering pictures of ecological devastation while beholding dazzling visual surfaces.11 Such is the visual event Burt-ynsky stages with these photographs.

Photographs as Topograms

11 The potential of the photograph-as-document is vitiated by a vulnerability intrinsic to the medium of photography as mechanical reproduction, namely that without inscription, without extra and supplementary effort, a photograph is an orphan, a visual sign of unsubstantiated reference. The photograph stands as evidence, but evidence of what? Walter Benjamin reflected on the implications of this orphan condition. He calls “inscription” the extra-photographic language that is added onto a photographic image so that it can be found and identified. This need for “telling” is one of the “lessons inherent in the authenticity of the photograph.”12 Referring to the writing initiated by the captions, as “literarization,” Benjamin asks the pointed question: “…shouldn’t a photographer who cannot read his own pictures be no less accounted an illiterate? Won’t inscription become the most important part of the photograph?”13 Inscription might begin with the mark of the date and time scrawled on the back or mechanically inscribed by the camera itself. Yet even that inscription requires an extra act or mechanical operation. Writing is a necessary supplement.14

12 I want to call a photograph accompanied by inscriptions, a topogram. A photograph is a topogram when an inscription names what it is. I use the word top-, plus gram, because topi- conveys site, place and location as well as topic. The suffix gram conveys the sense of a capsule that carries a message as in a telegram or a hologram. For instance, compare a map to a photograph as a topogram. One significant difference between the two is that inscriptions fill a map—from the place names, special marks, to the legends—to substantiate it. A photograph, however, is inevitably divided into two. There is the image and there are the inscriptions. They are almost always clearly separated; they don’t spread out over the image like a map or a painting.

13 One commonality between maps and photographs is their dependency on names—proper names and place names. Topogram thus refers to the whole entity insofar as it communicates visual meaning. A photograph is a topogram once it has a name as a minimum inscription. Considered as topograms, Burtynsky’s photographs are minimum. Take, for example, the caption accompanying a photograph from “Mines and Tailings,” which reads: “Plate 14 Nickel Tailings #34, Sudbury, Ontario” (left panel).15 The legend in the appendix does not inform the viewer when the photograph was taken. There are no notes to report on the circumstances of the commission. There are no journal entries of the shoots, the amount of time to take the pictures, or a sense of the expanse of the site. How deep do the nickel tailing ponds seep? A picture is worth a thousand words, depending upon a few chosen words and the proximity of their placement about the photograph. Words seem to complicate the formalist purity of a Burtynsky photograph.

14 All the same, Burtynsky needs commentaries in order to supplement his demanding signifying ambitions. Consequently, his verbal parsimony is maximally compensated by a surfeit of discursive writing by others. Three essays and an interview with the photographer comprise the first part of Manufactured Landscapes. The concern that unifies the four texts is almost completely devoted to what might be called the art value of Edward Burtynsky’s photographs. The essays are commentaries on the photographs as artworks mostly in comparison with painting.

15 The first and longest piece is Lori Pauli’s “Seeing the Big Picture.”16 The curator’s essay, Pauli attempts to bring Burtynsky’s photographs under the rubric of landscape, landscape understood both culturally and as a category in art history to name a genre. Mark Haworth-Booth’s essay is concerned to accommodate Burtynsky’s photographic project within the norms of eighteenth century picturesque painting.17 He opens with a brief and mundane account of Burkean aesthetics in order to argue that there is nothing aesthetically out of place for an artist to explore the picturesque genre by picturing “the dark satanic mills” of industrialization. Who would have thought otherwise? The essay by Kenneth Baker, the most insightful of the group, finds a place for Burtynsky’s photographs within the American tradition of landscape art on the one hand and abstract modernism on the other.18 Baker seeks to integrate Burtynsky’s photographs within the canon of American art. The fourth and last discourse is an interview with the photographer himself.19 Biographical in nature, the interview contains many helpful insights especially detailing his emergence as a photographer of the industrial depot. Additionally, Burtynsky reflects on his adoption of the view camera under the influence of American 19th-century landscape photography. In this regard, Burtynsky’s last statement is important to cite:When I think about this work what comes to mind is that sweeping view of vast terrain. They were always looking for an elevated perspective so that the foreground begins quite far away and the scene unfolds as the eye moves into mid-aspect and on into infinity. That hovering—looking out across the great expanse—is something that I found to be a rich viewpoint. It turns the space into what I believe is a mythic space, an archetypal sense of the landscape.20It is remarkable how little these discourses shed light on what I have called the photograph-as-document. The photographs are compelling, fraught with ecological premonition. It would be expected that the essayists address the devastation predicted by these photographs. We learn nothing, however, about the spread of toxicity in the Nickel Belt. We are not informed about the history of the marble quarries, or of the size of the tire depots. (Canadians looking at these photographs might well recall the Hagersville, Ontario, tire fire.) One way or another, Burtynsky’s photographs, even the marble quarries, tap into and feed upon ecological anxiety and the premonition of disaster.21 Why is this condition not articulated by any of the four writers? The resulting lacuna is worth pondering.

16 Burtynsky’s photographs in this collection have been rendered “literary” in order to elevate the art value of the work by diminishing their cultural and political significance. The discourses clear the space for the Burtynsky spectacular to gain residence in institutions of art. Is the art gallery the most appropriate residence for this work?

The Wilderness as Wasteland

17 Mass technological interventions over the earth’s surface yield areas of ruin—dead zones. These spaces are unfit for habitation and devoid of all that would invoke images of landscape. Edward Burtynsky’s photographs draw attention to these ecological dead zones. The very notion of landscape is intimately tied to locality, to the accumulation of human investments that make somewhere a place. A landscape is inevitably a lieu de memoire. Massive technological intervention is without locality. Its spread is global and ubiquitous. Part of Burtynsky’s talent is to make the ubiquitous appear to have locality, to be somewhere special and not just anywhere. This is one reason his photographs appear to the viewer as landscapes.

18 One way of reflecting on landscape is to think of it in terms of the “stack” of human investments somewhere, that make it a place. Does it make sense, however, to compare massive technological interventions as “markings” of landscape, with the markings of an old wall that edges a view of a sunset? Such is the inherence view of landscape, advanced by cultural geographers and landscape architects. It is a view suggesting that human investments “indwell” an expanse to make it a place, to use Robert Harrison’s term.22 Doubtless, a massive and intrusive industrial intervention is a human investment, but it isn’t the kind of investment that makes it landscape, precisely because it undermines the very place as a dwelling. Few living beings can dwell in the spaces that Burtynsky shows. Thus, on the inherence view of landscape advocated in Manufactured Landscapes, the kind of industry that Burtynsky renders as pictures contradicts the intuitions that underlie this viewpoint.

19 Industrial depots are neither landscapes nor monuments, yet the view of landscape I have sketched doesn’t have to admit pictures, in themselves, as contributing to somewhere to make it a landscape. To include pictures, a notion of landscape is required where the sense of significances, inscriptions, and investments is brought from somewhere else to the place, or from the place, to make it a landscape. Significances brought to somewhere to make it a landscape may remain permanently invisible, off stage. Isn’t a camera or an easel or a notebook a medium for such symbolic conveyances? After all, the photographer takes the picture, but the photographer is seldom shadowed in the picture to inscribe the photographer into the place. Pictures in general are typical invisibles that one might say are off site with respect to the place. Burtynsky, with his view camera, emulates what has been called “the specular gaze.” Pictures, as I have argued elsewhere, effect a dislocation with respect to place where the picture becomes the conduit and permission for human activity. A picture in relation to somewhere often contributes to the dis-place.23

20 I call that which is brought to a place the “site” aspect of a place. Off stage, it is a special property that belongs to the invisible of a place. In reflecting upon how to assess its impact there is much to consider. For example, photographs are taken of and from a place, itself an industrial extraction of sorts although no marks of intrusion are left. In the end it may be only a few minutes that were taken out of the place. As well, and in addition to the tangible items (equipment, for example) the photographer brings to a place, he brings a host of intangible paraphernalia that includes his research and techniques and, just as important, he brings his beliefs and ideological agenda to a site. Bearing in mind all these considerations, it could be said that the site-aspect of his photographs might thus be rather submerged, if not subliminal.24

21 The Wilderness is one mental construct that saturates Edward Burtynsky’s photographs. The Wilderness, as a picture, as a myth and as an inheritance is off stage, another piece of equipment in the photographer’s backpack, just as the camera apparatus is off stage to constitute the scene of the photograph. I find it remarkable that in view of the effort to raise the art value of Burtynsky’s photographs, the authors, Burtynsky included, fail to mention the Group of Seven, the wilderness picture that they enunciated, or any influence their efforts had on this body of work. To Canadians, that influence would be as obvious as Calvin Watkins’ influence would be to an American. The wilderness is the unconscious picture of Burtynsky’s photographs, just as ecological disaster is the theme.

22 Burtynsky’s photographs begin in technology, in the landscape as “the standing reserve,” to use Heidegger’s phrase, and they end in ruins with technology itself as the most sublime of ruins. A moment has been left out of the “digressive” sequence of Burtynsky’s “during” of technology-in-use (Portfolio 1, 5), and the “after” of ruination (Portfolios 2, 4, 6). These photographs are prepared by a “before.” A condition or state of nature is presupposed that is prior to its technological enframing and ruination: the Wilderness. Wilderness is the surface of the earth that belongs to all living beings, but which has not been acquired and put to the service of human beings. Burtynsky’s photographs take as their leitmotif the wilderness as a fallen condition; not the condition of the first fall and expulsion of humans from the garden into the wilderness; not the wilderness of the commons; but the wilderness of the second fall, the wilderness turned into wasteland, the earth itself turned into exploited ruin. This is the second fall, the fall at the end; not the fall of the expulsion at the beginning. There is no return to the wilderness as a before, in view of the degradation of the earth. The Burtynsky image of the wilderness as wasteland arises from, and presupposes the wilderness as exalted nature devoid of human presence. This picture was first enunciated in the 19th-century American landscape sublime and then systematically rearticulated by the Group of Seven.25

23 “Mines and Tailings” casts its eerie, apocalyptic light over the whole, unifying what would otherwise be a motley grouping of photographs. From the almost commercial, cheerful train-nostalgic photographs of “Rail Cuts” to the orientalist technological phantasmagoria of “Shipbreaking,” “Mines and Tailings” carries and refigures the aesthetic of the wilderness, inverting it into an aesthetic of the wasteland. The wilderness of the wasteland yields Burtynsky’s lasting, inconsolable and Romanticist-filled trope—ruins. The poisoned terrain of “Mines and Tailings” and the vast mounds of technological detritus of “Urban Mines” culminate in the behemoths of steel beached on remote and oriental coasts. Indeed, those last images of oriental coasts are orientalist because they, unlike their occidentalist emptied, toxic expanses, are photographs teeming with minute and productive human life.26

24 More than any other work of photography with which I am familiar, the photographs in this volume exemplify Susan Sontag’s observation that “beautifying is one classic operation of the camera and it tends to bleach out a moral response to what is shown.”27 The photographs so exalt these disasters that they are elevated to the symbolic topic of ruins. Does such beautification sooth irremediable loss by making human interventions appear like inevitable natural facts? Viewed as ruins, has the redemption of the earth left historical time and human action, and become a work of nature where human destructiveness becomes a blip or a grace note in the wash of geological time? Without the wilderness picture, a devastated expanse might be a landscape. Informed by the wilderness picture, a devastated expanse is a landscape because it foretells the closing of the earth as a commons shared by all living beings. This might be the lesson from this portfolio of Edward Burtynsky’s photographs, but it is not the lesson enunciated by this spectacular book of photographs.

I wish to thank Molly Blyth, Alan Cohen, Blake Fitzpatrick, Randy Innes, David Kettler, Margaret Olin, D. B. Small, Jesper Svenbro, Linna Weber, Ludger Müller-Wille and John Wadland.


1 Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003).

2 The six portfolios are: “Railcuts” (Portfolio 1), “Mines and Tailings” (2), “Quarries” (3), “Urban Mines” (4), “Oil Fields and Refineries” (5), “Shipbreaking” (6).

3 “Rock of Ages No. 17, E. L. Smith Quarry, Barre, Vermont.” (Undated)

4 See Donald Preziosi, “Brain of the Earth’s Body: Museums and the Framing of Modernity,” in The Rhetoric of the Frame, ed. Paul Duro (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 96-110, for a balanced syn-optic reading of the contents and the discontents of the Gallery/Museum. See also in the same volume Jonathan Bordo, “The Witness in the Errings of Contemporary Art” for an articulation of the homeless state of contemporary art. Burtynsky is surely a contemporary artist.

5 According to C. S. Pierce, the index of a sign is that which is pointed to as this, that, here and there. The photograph is self-authenticatingly indexical because it shows what it is and is what it shows.

6 In this regard, Burtynsky works as a digital photographer.

7 Walter Benjamin, “A Little History of Photography.” The Selected Writings of Walter Benjamin vol. 2 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 507.

8 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (New York: Hill and Wang, 1982), 88.

9 Barthes, Camera Lucida, esp. 26.

10 Baudelaire, Ecrits Aesthetiques et Romantiques (Paris: Garnier, 1962), 319.

11 Many cultural analysts of photography have discussed its democratic aspect commencing with Baudelaire’s anti-populist jeremiad of 1859. Roland Barthes draws a distinction between pictures that are taken casually from art pictures. The force of this distinction carries on in a more nuanced way in Susan Sontag and Margaret Olin, especially in their respective accounts of the community of images. In an invited paper entitled “Touching Photographs,” which she gave at the Centre for Theory, Culture and Politics Trent University in February 2003, Margaret Olin discussed the spontaneous outburst of photographs that filled Lower Manhattan after 9/11. The paper is the title of her forthcoming monograph Touching Photographs (Chicago, 2008).

12 Walter Benjamin, A Little History of Photography, 507.

13 Ibid.

14 With all its Derridean implications.

15 Lori Pauli, Manufactured Landscapes: The Photographs of Edward Burtynsky, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 76.

16 Pauli, “Seeing the Big Picture,” in Manufactured Landscapes, 10-33.

17 Mark Howorth-Booth, “Edward Burtynsky: Traditions and Affinities,” in Manufactured Landscapes, 34-39.

18 Kenneth Baker, “Form Versus Portent: Edward Burtynsky’s Endangered Landscapes,” in Manufactured Landscapes, 40-45.

19 Michael Torrosian, “The Essential Element: An Interview with Edward Burtynsky”, in Manufactured Landscapes, 46-55.

20 Ibid., 55.

21 While nuclear danger is not one of Burtynsky’s topics, the viewer can’t help but make that connection, primarily because of the depth of research and education that has grown around it, advanced in particular by the Atomic Photographers Guild. See Blake Fitzpatrick, “Making Visible: Photography Witnessing and the Nuclear Era” (doctoral thesis, University of Toronto, 2002). See also his catalogue essay for Disaster Topographics, Gallery TPW, May 2005. For a more general cultural reflection on ecological threats, see also Julia Bryan-Wilson, “Building a Marker of Nuclear Warning,” in Monuments and Memory, Made and Unmade, eds. R. Nelson and M. Olin (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 183-204; Peter vanWyck, Signs of Danger, Waste, Trauma, and Nuclear Threat (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2004) and Mike Davis, Dead Cities Ecocide in Marlborough Country (New York: New Press, 2002). See also my “Ecological Peril, Technology and the Post-Modern Sublime,” in The Shadow of Spirit, eds. P. Berry and A. Wernick (New York: Routledge, 1994), 165-78.

22 Here I have been influenced by Robert Harrison’s formulation of indwelling to capture inherence as a relational property of place. Robert Harrison, The Dominion of the Dead (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).

23 See Jonathan Bordo, “The Keeping Place,” in Monuments and Memory, Made and Unmade, eds. R. Nelson and M. Olin (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 162-71, for the formulation of the picture as a dis-place; and D. B. Small, “Picturing Grand Manon” (masters thesis, Trent University, 1998).

24 I have been influenced in this formulation by “Country Matters: How Landscapes Talk Back.” Paper presented by Tom Mitchell at the Centre for Theory, Culture, and Politics, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, 27 September, 2002).

25 I have drawn instruction from Joel Synder’s essay “Territorial Photography,” in Landscape and Power, ed. W. J. T. Mitchell, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003). Susan Bernard “The Altered Terrain: Reconfigurations of the Landscape by Photo-based Artists in Canada” (masters thesis, Carleton University, 2003) develops a convincing art historical argument to show the inheritance of the Group of Seven in the work of three contemporary photo-based artists. See also Jonathan Bordo, “The Terra Nullius of Wilderness: Colonialist Landscape Art (Australia and Canada and the So-called Claim to American Exception),” International Journal of Canadian Studies 15 (1997): 13-36.

26 I am grateful to the smart eyes of Jeremy Milloy who detected all the little people in one of Edward Burtynsky’s “Three Gorges Dam” projects.

27 Susan Sontag, 81.