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Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography since 1970

Image of a book cover featuring three landscape photographs.

$ 50.00

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

Edited by Makeda Best

Publication date: November 2021

ISBN: 9780300260083
262 pages; 8 × 10 in.
137 images
Softcover, wire-o bound

Published by Harvard Art Museums
Distributed by Yale University Press


Winner of Photography Catalogue of the Year at the 2022 Paris Photo–Aperture PhotoBook Awards

Watch a trailer for this book on Vimeo!

Devour the Land considers how contemporary photographers have responded to the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 the Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography at the Harvard Art Museums.

With contributions by Makeda Best, Steven Hoelscher, Abrahm Lustgarten, Courtney J. Martin, Katherine Mintie, and Will Wilson. Also includes interviews with artists Sheila Pree Bright, Terry Evans, Ashley Gilbertson, David T. Hanson, Stacy Kranitz, Jin Lee, Richard Misrach, Barbara Norfleet, and Oscar Palacio, as well as poems by Ed Roberson from his collection To See the Earth Before the End of the World (2010).

The exhibition Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography since 1970 is on display at the Harvard Art Museums from September 17, 2021 to January 16, 2022. Explore more at

 Devour the Land: War and American Landscape Photography since 1970 is made possible in part by the generosity of the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Publication Fund and the Rosenblatt Fund for Postwar American Art. Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund. Modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art.

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