Since its invention, photography has been used to document and interpret the landscape. Survey photographers in the 1860s were the first environmental advocates, arguing for the U.S. national park system. During the first half of the 20th century photographers Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter werecentral figures in influencing American attitudes toward wilderness and conservation.
Earth Now traces the development of environmental photography beginning with Adams and Porter and others, and the next generation of landscape photographers—Robert Adams, Richard Misrach, Robert GlennKetchum, Patrick Nagatani, Mark Klett, whose works confronted the issues of landscape and the environment in less idealized terms.
Shifting from the historical framework, Earth Now presents new work by twenty-three photographers working in the U.S., the next wave of artists using the camera to engage the environmental issues of the day. Works by Michael Berman, Subhankar Banerjee, Joann Brennan, Dornith Doherty, Greg Mac Gregor, Christina Seely, Sharon Stewart, and others are among the ninety-one duotone and color images presented, many being published for the first time. Ranging from documentary to conceptual, the photographs touch on topics such as land and water use, the human place in the landscape, mounting consumer waste, industrial pollution, roof gardens and the green roof initiative, local food production, energy consumption, and the effects of industry on humans and animals.