A Taxonomy of Landscape
Victoria Sambunaris, essay by Natasha Egan, short story by Barry Lopez.
126 pages with 36 page booklet, hardcover:
Radius Books, 2014.
To create A Taxonomy of Landscape, Victoria Sambunaris traveled America's interstates and backroads alone for months with a 5-by-7-inch wooden field camera, driven, she says, by "an unrelenting curiosity to understand the American landscape and our place in it." Images of colossal dams, mines, and oil pipelines show Sambunaris' affinity for the "technological sublime." Echoing early 20th century masters like Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans, she refuses to glorify the West, focusing instead on the beauty she sees in immense human-made objects, often set against stark landscapes: a long line of trucks snaking across the Great Salt Lake Desert, or shipping containers stacked up on the Great Plains. A Taxonomy also includes some of Sambunaris' travel ephemera, from maps to mineral specimens to journal entries. Together, Sambunaris' images form a stunning visual tribute both to the boundlessness of land and the human ability to shape it.