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Abstract

Photography is one of the major ways in which modern urban humans relate to nature and nature is mediated to us. Landscape photography, in particular, is one of the major ways in which modern urban humans relate to the land and the land is mediated to us. I define landscape photography as the creative, photographic inscription of the visual appreciation for the surfaces of the land in the aesthetic modes of the sublime, the picturesque and the beautiful. American and Australian landscape photography has lived under the sign of the sublime and the picturesque for some time. Landscape photography in tourism, conservation and culture has played an important role in forming and maintaining national identity. It has played, and still plays, an important, but undervalued and misunderstood, role that is not aware of the cultural politics of pictures that underpins them. What role it will play in developing environmental sustainability in Australia is another question. Representing the natural environment as an aesthetic object does not promote environmental sustainability.

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