Cover image for A distanced land : the photographs of John Pfahl
A distanced land : the photographs of John Pfahl
Pfahl, John, 1939-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Albuquerque : Published by the University of New Mexico Press in association with Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1990.
Physical Description:
204 pages : photograph ; 23 x 28 cm
General Note:
Exhibition held Nov. 16, 1990-Jan. 6, 1991 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
Added Corporate Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR647 .P494 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Over 100 photographs, most in color, from an exhibit in Buffalo, New York, include views of altered landscapes, waterfalls, smoke, power places, and other elements of landscape. Some of the photographs have appeared in Pfahl's earlier collections. No index. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Although landscape photographer Pfahl probably has many years' work before him, so substantial has his career from the 1970s to 1990 been that the retrospective this album catalogs is entirely appropriate. Timely too, since his latest projects have been concerned with environmental change and loss, thus addressing issues that trouble our national conscience. "Power Places" seem to be gorgeously traditional until we notice the nuclear power stations lurking in the distant haze. In "Missiles/Glyphs," he joins images of nuclear weaponry with ancient stone pictographs, a jarring yet haunting conjunction. In "Smoke" and "Waterfalls"--current projects--his aesthetic bravura is in tension with knowledge of the environmental damage he is recording. "There is," he writes, "an almost unbearable irony to the act of recording an achingly romantic meeting of shadowy forest and luminous water while suffering the stench of untreated sewage dripping nearby." Earlier work, particularly his delightful "Altered Landscapes," was intellectual in approach, playing games with perspective in cleverly created optical illusions, meditating on the contrivances and pictorial conventions with which we regard the world. Throughout, he has shown fine compositional sense, great color sensitivity, and deep understanding of western landscape traditions. Highly recommended. ~--Gretchen Garner

Choice Review

Published in conjunction with a traveling retrospective exhibition of photographer John Pfahl, this volume includes a brilliant essay by Estelle Jussim. Each series of photographs has an introduction revealing its importance to the artist's growth. Pfahl's photographs range from the conceptual, fabricated illusions of print-surface alteration in "Altered Landscapes" to diptych prints of ancient petroglyphs and atomic missile parts in "Missile/Glyphs." Each series is engaging and raises questions both visually and intellectually. Other series included are "Picture Windows," an interpretation of the art-historical Renaissance window; "Video Landscapes," taken from daily television programming; "Power Places," technology and its impact on the environment; and "Submerged Petroglyphs," sites where petroglyphs have been lost beneath New Mexico reservoirs. "Arcadia Revisited" is an exploration of Niagara Falls, and "Waterfalls" and "Smoke" show works in progress. This highly recommended book is beautifully produced with fine-quality color plates and an elegant design. An informative bibliography, exhibition history, and chronology are included. For all libraries. P. Laytin Fitchburg State College