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Laura McPhee
No Ordinary Land

Desert Chronicle
The Home and the World
Guardians of Solitude
Gateway
River of No Return
Driveway Portraits
Tea Pluckers
No Ordinary Land
Family

A collaboration with Virginia Beahan.

The photographs portray not the binary story of touched/untouched, but the subtle histories of kinds and layers of touches in the landscape, not an authoritative story, but a plethora of divergent versions. Perhaps what is most outstanding about the images gathered here is their refusal to simplify. Almost every landscape seems to be a nexus, a place where multiple impulses, forces, and practices come together. Places that are damaged are still beautiful, as are working places, and the most conventionally beautiful kinds of landscapes—oceans, mountains—have signs of human presence pulling them back from the Otherness they often signify in photographs. The work insists on restarting a complex conversation about the ways our lives are intertwined with the spaces and substances of the earth, a conversation that seems to have its origins behind the camera, with two visions and voices rather than one shaping each image.

—Rebecca Solnit