Here is something newish. I was out West at the end of November photographing an area near where I grew up that is battling a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power project that plan to put up eight-some miles of high tension power lines through public and private lands—some of which are designated preserves. I hope to be again in the next few weeks to continue photographing the area.

Pioneertown, 2007

The problem with trying to use photography to help stop the development in the area is that, even though it is a beautiful and magical landscape, it isn’t a spectacular one. It is a subtle landscape, one without majestic peaks, or towering trees, but altogether beautiful in with its open, unblemished space and abundance of life.

In reality, does a run of powerlines really cause lasting harm to the environment? Maybe not, but the devastation would be that which comes next. The power lines would be something like the equivalent of the Broken Window or Ghetto Effect in a city. When the sight of the power lines becomes accepted, it isn’t long until the area looks as disgusting as Apple Valley—Yucca Valley, my home town, is long down on its course toward the homogenized and sprawling western town—valuing popular fast food restaurants and frappuccinos over real community, and real culture.


About Richard Boutwell

I am an emerging photographer originally from the Hi-Desert of Southern California, and relocated to Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 2002 for an intensive apprenticeship with the photographers Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee. I now live in Philadelphia, and concentrate on my own projects and writing.
This entry was posted in Art, California, Environmental Issues, Photography. Bookmark the permalink.

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