Pratiche ri-fotografiche sui paesaggi dell’ovest americano

Chiara Salari


This article investigates the role photographic images had and still have in shaping the perception and the definition of the American West. We focus on re-photography, a practice based on researching and adopting the same vantage points in order to see changes over time, which has been used by scientists and geologists since the 19th century, then by professional, commercial or amateur photographers, and introduced in the art domain since the 1970s. In the first paragraph we use the concept of re-photography, its more metaphorical sense – as an act of reinterpretation: interpretation of the West, which changes from a reservoir of wilderness icons to a generator of man-altered landscapes, but also of photographs of the West, in and out of the art world. Then we concentrate on some projects that use this technique of relocating the exact points of view – from the collective surveys Second View: The Rephotographic Survey Project (1984) and Third Views, Second Sights: A Rephotographic Survey of the American West (2004) to the more recent Reconstructing the View: The Grand Canyon Photographs of Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe (2011) and Oblique Views: Aerial Photography and Southwest Archaeology (2015). We conclude by reframing re-photography through some contemporary examples, websites or applications for mobile devices.


Photography; American History; landscape

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