Collections

Skip navigation
Media File
Mark Klett
Date: American, b. 1952
Biography:

Mark Klett's landscape photography is informed equally by irony, criticism, conservationism, and residual pastoral romanticism. Like the New Topographics photographers, he considers history and human activity part of the natural landscape. He photographs evidence of human interaction with the land, using formal beauty to invite the critical reflection of the spectator.

Klett, born in Albany, New York, earned a B.S. in geology in 1974 from St. Lawrence University and an MFA in photography from the State University of New York, Buffalo, in conjunction with the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester in 1977. From 1977-79, he worked as a field assistant for the United States Geological Survey in Denver. In 1977, with Ellen Manchester and Jo Ann Verburg, Klett conceived and initiated the Rephotographic Survey Project, which was funded by Polaroid and the National Endowment for the Arts. The project, which retraced the work of nineteenth-century geological survey photographers, was published under the title Second View in 1984. More than 120 of the sites of these initial documentary images--taken by William Henry Jackson, Timothy O'Sullivan, and Alexander Gardner, and others--were photographed, and the book pairs the images for comparison. Klett has received four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and was named photographer of the year by the Friends of Photography in 1993. Since 1982, he has been at the School of Art at Arizona State University. His work has been included in several group exhibitions of landscape photography, including Perpetual Mirage: Photographic Narratives of the Desert West at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1996, and he has had solo exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Amon Carter Museum. Klett's publications include Traces of Eden: Travels in the Desert Southwest (1986); Revealing Territory: Photographs of the Southwest (1992); and Desert Legends: Re-Storying the Sonoran Borderlands (1994).


Lisa Soccio

Handy et al. Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection, New York: Bulfinch Press in association with the International Center of Photography, 1999, p. 220.