Does art influence the way we view the natural world?
Landscapes can offer vicarious travel through the physical world, transport us through association to our individual and collective pasts, or entice us to go places. At the same time, they are able to record our experience of a landscape at a certain moment, thereby allowing us to revisit that place and time at some point in the future. Landscapes like Hiroshige’s Suijin Shrine or Muybridge’s Falls of Yosemite, thus, become repositories of memory.
Questions to Consider
- Both Hiroshige and Muybridge present us with views of mountains. How does each position the viewer in relationship to the mountain in question? How does this impact your response to the work?
- These works were made to depict natural sites at popular tourist destinations. How do you think such views might have encouraged more people to visit these spots? Why do you think that visitors would have wanted to own images depicting sites they had already visited?
- Today, people often travel with cameras, capturing the natural wonders they encounter on their journeys. Why do we take such pictures? Do you think that our habit of picture-taking influences the way we actually look at natural scenery? To what extent do you think cultural representations influence the way we approach the natural world?
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