Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date



This thesis argues that the American West is a melting pot unprecedented by anything else in the North American continent. The natural beauty observed by the nineteenth-century photographers still prevails. The land is shaped not only by new peoples and cultures, and by those already inhabiting the land, but also by political ideas about how the land should be used. The works of Robert Adams and Mark Klett examine these agendas through their respective works. They illustrate ideas of how the land should be used\u2014from national parks, to cities, to energy and environmental projects. Both photographers focus on different areas of the West. Adams concentrates on cities and the cityscape, and Klett emphasizes the open landscape and the environment, and in this way they complement each other. Together, Mark Klett and Robert Adams are dismantling the narratives and myths of the American West, and are actively working to establish it as a region where land use, migration and movement are in constant change. Adams and Klett are restructuring the foundationally flawed myth through their photography.



Document Type


Degree Name

Art History

Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Committee Member (Chair)

Anderson-Riedel, Susanne

Second Committee Member

Zuromskis, Catherine


Mark Klett, Robert Adams