The human landscape   Central do Brasil

I wanted to express my affiliation with observers of the edges of landscape. There is something deep and moving about understanding the contradiction between the smallness of the individual when seen in the context of a frontier landscape and the immense power that human civilization has had in changing the face of the planet. Some of the best observations of this dilemma can be seen in films of the last 50 years, when directors found the striking point of view of the wide angle lens.

J. B. Jackson was the premier American commentator on how our country’s unique cultural history, especially in the wild West, has evolved from its original inhabitants to the time of the automobile culture of the 20th century.

When and if I get the time, I want to go back to the films of John Ford.

Michelangelo Antonioni was one of the first filmmakers to understand how the landscape can frame human stories. His placement of troubled characters in abandoned, unexpected urban and desert locations highlights the universality of their plight.

Abbas Kiarostami’s 1997 film, Taste of Cherry, leads to contemplation on the meaning of human life in an era of ongoing sprawl and militarism.

Walter Salles’s recent pictures, Central do Brasil, Behind the Sun and the Motorcycle Diaries are other sources of contemplation on the “lost” places of human settlement and the exploitation of the subsistence workers who live on the edge.