Vacation: Memories of the American Landscape by John Brinton Hogan
Much of the American self-identity has been informed by its perceived relationship with the landscape. My work re-examines this construct, particularly as it defines itself in the American West, at the dawn of the 21st Century.
From the beginning, representations of the western U.S. have always been a type of sales pitch: a dream to bleieve in, a commodity to be sold on - an advertisement for an idea. The attraction to these untouched lands lay in the fact that most humans were never meant to see them, much less inhabit them. The idea was the promise of conquest, of asserting our will over places so inhospitable nothing there dared exist.
These photographs employ/exploit the myth-making influences of the American historical consciousness: from fine art histrionics (Hudson/Post Hudson River School, Group f-64) to self-important popular culture (cowboy movies, Route 66 nostalgia).
Scattered throughout the West are numerous sites where the chance still remains to experience those grand vistas the way they existed before our arrival. However, when an individual considers the infrastructre created to appreciate those vistas, they're confronted with a markedly different experience: the illusion is exposed- the only unspoiled view is the one create for our entertainment. Here: an opportunity to behold the bleached bones of Manifest Destiny fulfilled.
VACATION creates memories of things that never really existed, of places I've never really seen, and most of all, allows me to imagine myself as having once been "here."
John Brinton Hogan lives and works in San Diego, California.
To view more of John's work, please visit his website.