The first few times I looked at this series by Lewis Koch, this first image bugged me. My thinking was, “It’s a fine enough image, but I don’t really understand why it’s included in the project.” But then I thought, “Wait, what’s leaning up against that rock on the bottom left?” And that’s when I realized this is a photograph of a photograph–a nature scene printed on the back of an RV. So it’s apparent that I am easily fooled by photographs lately. Now, needless to say, I love this image. It’s successful. I was totally duped.

I really enjoy this series that explores humans’ relationship with nature in one of the places that’s got to be richest for this type of photography–Yellowstone National Park. I appreciate the sentiment that much of this incredible place was razed and reshaped simply so that it could be visited by people en masse, their giant recreational vehicles parked on the pavement in what used to be majestic, untouched wilderness, but I also get a kick out of the tourist culture evident in the project. Our modes for transport into the wild are covered in pictures of that wild; a bison trudges along on the road in between cars, a perfect example of humans’ interference with its habitat, while the drivers keep driving, looking for a more wondrous wonder.

From the artist’s statement: At the time we were in the park word arrived that my father was dying.  A few days, maybe a few weeks left to go on a long and well-lived life.  This personal, internal grief exposed a sadness more generalized and external as I struggled with the protracted afflictions plaguing our great mother, Mother Nature.  We celebrate her and despoil her in equal measure, sometimes simultaneously.  Driving to and fro from one wonder to the next, it is difficult not to notice how much has been paved to protect that which is to be saved.  Is this the price of admission?

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