Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2014

Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Abstract

Gelang: A Photography of Belonging proposes a new category of landscape photography, one that moves away from emphasis upon imagery of particular kinds of landscape (such as wilderness, topographical, or wastelandscape) and also away from genres of photography (art, documentary, or scientific) and instead investigates the shared values and ethics among landscape and nature photographers and the kinds of awareness and knowledge that arise through outdoor, field-based photographic practice. An analysis of the writings of photographers and their published interviews, as well as the author's own photographic experiences in the field, reveals a common core of life-affirming values predicated on a heightened sense of belonging to the land and a corresponding sense of communication with and responsibility toward the other-than-human beings, forces and forms that together with humans co-create our shared world. The work argues for photography as phronesis--knowledge acquired through practice that leads to wise, practical reasoning--and the importance of photography as a highly mobile, poly-sensual, and immersive experience of place that leads to increased ecological knowledge; expanded understanding of the relationship between human action and environmental response; heightened awareness of cyclical changes and patterns; a better understanding of oneself in relation to others, both human and other-than-human; a sense of connection with the Cosmos; expanded self-awareness; and an increased respect for all of life. Four kinds of photographic vision are explored in this work--looking, seeing, witnessing, and reflecting--all of which foster different types of awareness and responsibility.

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