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Posted on: October 4, 2016

Telfair Museums Photography Exhibition Explores Man and the Environment

Watershed: Contemporary Landscape Photography, opening October 14 at Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center, explores the increasingly fraught relationship between humankind and the environment, giving photographic aid to a concern that has reached global significance in recent years. Since the 1970s, landscape photographers have embraced this new relationship with the natural world, marking a firm split from the black and white, pristine vistas associated with midcentury landscape photographers like Ansel Adams. . Displaying works that evidence the undeniable impact on the earth, these photographers reveal the landscape as an activated space—one that is imprinted by mankind and marked by social performance.
“This exhibition questions traditional notions of what a landscape looks like and these photographers ultimately explore what these exploited environments might mean for society today,” said Erin Dunn, Telfair Museums’ Assistant Curator.
Uniting many works from Telfair’s permanent collection, this exhibition features over 30 works by 25 artists. The survey is divided into several sections that explore trends in landscape photography since the 1970s: Objective, Atmosphere, Exposure, and Narrative.
“Objective” features works that present an indifferent aesthetic, achieved by straightforward depictions of America’s changing landscape pockmarked by industry and residential development. “Atmosphere” maintains the legacy of Ansel Adams through the presentation of the landscape as an overwhelming entity, albeit irreversibly affected by man’s presence. “Exposure” groups together artists who manipulate their photographic process to create landscapes influenced by outside forces, such as time and history, revealing man’s deep and natural connection to the land. Finally, “Narrative” sets landscape as a stage for social interactions, often constructed to be actively interpreted by the viewer.

Watershed will be on view from October 14, 2016–January 29, 2017 at the Jepson Center and will be accompanied by a free gallery guide.

Opening Lecture by Erin Dunn Thursday, October 13, 6pm Members free / non-members $5
Join Erin Dunn, Assistant Curator at Telfair Museums, for a lecture on Watershed: Contemporary Landscape Photography, an exhibition which explores how contemporary photography depicts the often contentious relationship between humans and the environments we inhabit.

Funding is provided by the City of Savannah’s Department of Cultural Affairs.
Sponsored in part by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

About Telfair Museums:
Opened in 1886, Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South and features a world-class art collection in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District. The museum encompasses three sites: the Jepson Center for the Arts, the Owens-Thomas House, and the Telfair Academy. For more information, call 912-790-8800 or visit

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