Peter Goin and the Photography of Environmental Change : Visual Literacy and Altered Landscapes book cover
1st Edition

Peter Goin and the Photography of Environmental Change
Visual Literacy and Altered Landscapes

ISBN 9781032080338
Published June 30, 2022 by Routledge
412 Pages 214 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

Peter Goin and the Photography of Environmental Change narrates the forty-year quest of award-winning and internationally exhibited contemporary photographer Peter Goin to document human-altered landscapes across America and beyond. It is a collaborative work between an artist and a literary critic, a retrospective of an accomplished environmental photographer, and an innovative education in visual reading.

Enduring howling wind, pounding rain, and blistering sun, Goin bears witness to radioactive landscapes, abandoned mines, simulated swamps, rechanneled rivers, controlled burns, overgrown ruins, industrialized agriculture, shrinking reservoirs, feral spaces in the city, architected wilderness, sacred wastelands, contested borderlands, and more. Based on more than seventy hours of taped interviews with the artist spanning over a decade, trailblazing ecocritic Cheryll Glotfelty narrates the arc of Goin's career, sharing excerpts from their conversations that reveal his brilliant mind and piquant personality while situating his work within the broader context of environmental thinkers.

This beautifully illustrated volume, with 200 images in color and black-and-white showcasing Goin’s work, will be a fascinating and insightful read for upper-level students, academics, and researchers in photography, environmental history and culture, landscape studies, and environmental humanities.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Leave your shoes at the door; 2 Biographical sketch: It’s not about me; 3 On the road; 4 Evolving landscapes; 5 American ruins; 6 Urban wild; 7 A line on the landscape; 8 Landscapes of fear; 9 Militarizing the American West; 10 Landscape is architecture; 11 Humanature; 12 The postmodern West; 13 Sensual anthropomorphs; 14 Arid waters; 15 Changing mines; 16 Water into light; 17 Ancestral artisans; 18 New nature; 19 Artifacts of the future; 20 Epilogue: Goin home; Appendix A: Peter Goin’s books, archives, and collections; Appendix B: Keys to reading the visual language of photography, by Peter Goin

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Cheryll Glotfelty, the nation's first professor of Literature and Environment, enjoyed a twenty-eight-year career at the University of Nevada, Reno, before retiring in 2018. Her coedited The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology is a progenitive work in the environmental humanities. Her two coedited volumes, The Bioregional Imagination: Literature, Ecology, and Place and The Biosphere and the Bioregion: Essential Writings of Peter Berg, explore bioregional approaches to harmonizing culture with nature. Glotfelty's literary criticism and reviews have appeared in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Women's Studies, ATQ, Southwestern American Literature, Western American Literature, Literature and Belief, and edited collections. Her art criticism has appeared in Material Ecocriticism and Environmental Criticism for the Twenty-First Century. She is a cofounder, past president, and honorary lifetime member of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment.


"One of the icons of environmental criticism, Cheryll Glotfelty, engages in a conversation with a world-class photographer, Peter Goin. Together they give voice to the invisible density of radiation, the uncanny agency of climate and waste, the beauty of resisting places. A compelling journey across disciplines and artistic languages, Peter Goin and the Photography of Environmental Change enables its readers to access the stories that weave the 'humanatural' fabric of landscapes. This book provides a masterclass in visual studies and ecological humanities."

Serenella Iovino, Professor of Environmental Humanities, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA 

"Of all the arts, photography has been the consistent guiding light during the past 150 years in helping us understand not only the larger American landscape but also the everyday places where we live, work, and play. And no photographer has done more to advance a new awareness of our contemporary landscapes than Peter Goin, who always seems to anticipate future directions of the art form. This new book thankfully confirms Goin’s artistic efforts and the tremendous contributions he has made during his stellar career."

George F. Thompson, Founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Place 

"Peter Goin and the Photography of Environmental Change is a powerful conversation between the beauty and mystery of our altered world, and an exciting way of reinventing our way of seeing and feeling Nature to pursue a better world. It is the most compelling book yet written about visual literacy."

María Antonia Blanco Arroyo, Professor of Art, University of Seville, Spain