Pave It and Paint It Green

Description

This image juxtaposes two things that have historically been constructed as antithetical: nature and human intervention. The top half of the photograph features Yosemite’s iconic Half Dome, framed by a stand of Western pine trees. The bottom half of the photograph shows a parking lot, where rows and rows of angled cars imply the presence of many humans. At the horizon line, cars and trees meet with high photographic contrast. In a postmodern twist, the parked cars are afforded greater visual presence than the Half Dome, famously the subject of tourist photographs. Partridge shifts the camera’s view slightly downward to illuminate the scale and irony of human presence at Yosemite. Through a simple act of reframing, this photograph forces us to look at a national parks service, complete with roadways, pollution, and paved lines. Partridge no longer allows the viewer to imagine some pristine natural world, but forces them to consider also the infrastructure and industry that make it accessible.

In the early 1930s, Partridge worked as a photographic assistant to Dorothea Lange, who captured rural poverty and human life during the Great Depression. Later in the decade, Partridge took a job operating Ansel Adams’s darkroom in Yosemite, which manufactured prints en masse for sale to tourists. This image is surely a product of these experiences; Partridge makes visible the presence of tourism, whereas Adams selectively omitted any indication of human intervention on the landscape. And while Lange captured the grief of Depression-era life, Partridge captures an image laden with irony.

MetaData

Dublin Core

Title

Pave It and Paint It Green

Subject

Yosemite, cars, parking lot, photograph, roads, Half Dome

Description

This image juxtaposes two things that have historically been constructed as antithetical: nature and human intervention. The top half of the photograph features Yosemite’s iconic Half Dome, framed by a stand of Western pine trees. The bottom half of the photograph shows a parking lot, where rows and rows of angled cars imply the presence of many humans. At the horizon line, cars and trees meet with high photographic contrast. In a postmodern twist, the parked cars are afforded greater visual presence than the Half Dome, famously the subject of tourist photographs. Partridge shifts the camera’s view slightly downward to illuminate the scale and irony of human presence at Yosemite. Through a simple act of reframing, this photograph forces us to look at a national parks service, complete with roadways, pollution, and paved lines. Partridge no longer allows the viewer to imagine some pristine natural world, but forces them to consider also the infrastructure and industry that make it accessible.

In the early 1930s, Partridge worked as a photographic assistant to Dorothea Lange, who captured rural poverty and human life during the Great Depression. Later in the decade, Partridge took a job operating Ansel Adams’s darkroom in Yosemite, which manufactured prints en masse for sale to tourists. This image is surely a product of these experiences; Partridge makes visible the presence of tourism, whereas Adams selectively omitted any indication of human intervention on the landscape. And while Lange captured the grief of Depression-era life, Partridge captures an image laden with irony.

Creator

Rondal Partridge, American, 1917-2015

Source

Library of Congress (LOC)

Date

ca. 1965

Contributor

G Laster

Rights

Rondal Partridge

Relation

Photographs

Format

19 7/8 x 15 15/16 in.

Language

En-US

Type

Photograph

Identifier

2011645056

Coverage

Date Created

February 20, 2018

Date Modified

March 10, 2018

Access Rights

Publication restricted

License

N/A

Has Part

N/A

Is Referenced By

N/A

References

N/A

Medium

Gelatin silver

Bibliographic Citation

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2011645056/

Spatial Coverage

Yosemite

Temporal Coverage

20th Century, 1960s

Audience

General audience

Provenance

Gift of Lucia Woods Lindley to the LOC, 2003

Rights Holder

http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/650_part.html

Citation

Rondal Partridge, American, 1917-2015, “Pave It and Paint It Green,” Park Culture, accessed March 2, 2021, http://parkculture.org/items/show/123.

Collection

Geolocation