(b. 1942 on Wichita Falls, Texas, U.S.A.; lives in Tucson, Arizona)
Frank Gohlke’s photograph is unique in depicting an elementin the landscape that might not immediately be recognized as a human intervention, interjecting ambiguity between the natural and the manmade. Acequias, or irrigation canals, are a common feature of the New Mexico landscape. In the contemporary context, this photograph evokes the complicated situation of water rights in a state where they are a pressing issue.
This photograph was shown in the exhibition NewTopographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape held in 1975 at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, curated by William Jenkins. In retrospect, this exhibition is seen as marking a paradigm shift in fine-art landscape photography in the U.S., showing works that shied away from the idealized visions to focus on the landscape as an artifact influenced and shaped by humans.