Devour the Land

War and American Landscape Photography since 1970

Edited by Makeda Best; With contributions by Makeda Best, Steven Hoelscher, Abrahm Lustgarten, Courtney J. Martin, Katherine Mintie, Ed Roberson, and Will Wilson

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Tracing the impacts of militarism on the American landscape, through the lens of art, environmental studies, and politics

Devour the Land considers how contemporary photographers have responded to the US military’s impact on the domestic environment since the 1970s, a dynamic period for environmental activism as well as for photography. This catalogue presents a lively range of voices at the intersection of art, environmentalism, militarism, photography, and politics. Alongside interviews with prominent contemporary artists working in the landscape photography tradition, the images speak to photographers’ varied motivations, personal experiences, and artistic approaches. The result is a surprising picture of the ways violence and warfare surround us. Although most modern combat has taken place abroad, the US domestic landscape bears the footprint of armed conflict—much of the environmental damage we live with today was caused by our own military and the expansive network of industries supporting its work. Designed to evoke a field book and to nod toward ephemera produced by earlier artists and activists, the catalogue features works by dozens of photographers, including Ansel Adams, Robert Adams, Dorothy Marder, Alex Webb, Terry Evans, and many more.

Makeda Best is Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography at the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA.


Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA
(September 17, 2021–January 16, 2022)

ISBN: 9780300260083
Publication Date: November 30, 2021
Publishing Partner: Distributed for the Harvard Art Museums
224 pages, 8 x 10
175 color + b/w illus.
Robert Ryman

Edited by Courtney J.

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