Blake of the Bluffs
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I’m a geographer. What does that mean? Broadly, I’m interested in how people shape their environment. Geography literally means – to describe the earth. Geographers have long dealt with this problem of describing the earth – we inherently generalize and gloss over many facts in our descriptions of the earth and the beings that inhabit it. Thus the scientific (or artistic) description of the earth is never perfect, never accurate, never complete. Rather, I’m interested in how people describe the earth – how do we, as societies, communities, and individuals understand the earth, relate to the environment we live in, and modify the space we inhabit to suit our needs and desires. When we make a garden in our backyard, we are geographing – we are writing our desires and needs onto the surface of the earth in tangible, material form. When we build a house we do the same. When we build cities we are geographing – not just describing the earth as it is, but rendering the earth anew in a way we believe it should be. All of our activities, no matter how mundane, inscribe the earth with the evidence of our existence – from taking out the trash, to watering the garden, to constructing a massive hydroelectric power plant. All of our activities have impacts on the earth that are visible in the landscape, and are reflective of social relations, normative ideals of landscape, and pragmatic needs for resources. As a geographer, I study how we make space, how we construct places, and what understandings we have about space and place that guide (or force) our actions to render the earth anew. I use photography to highlight, document, and comment on the connections, both tangible and intangible, material and immaterial, practical and spiritual, between human beings and the earth.
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