Gallery review: Mark Klett: Ideas about Time

A walk through the American history of the West in Baldwin Photo Gallery on November 6,2019. (MTSU Sidelines _ Veronica Prigmore)

Story and Photos by Veronica Prigmore

On Wednesday, November 6th, The Baldwin Photo Gallery at MTSU held an exhibit entitled, “Ideas about Time”, showcasing the works of Mark Klett. The former geologist, now photographer, has a unique style and incorporates his geology experience in his photos. 

The photo gallery is a time travel adventure through the American West. Klett’s work displays an artistic perspective through the theme Ideas about Time.

Some of the photographs tell a story about the effects of global warming and modern civilization. In one display,  three photos of a lake showed a decline in the water levels over time. In the third photo, the islands that were once a part of the lake formed into a canyon. This is recorded evidence of climate change throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century.

The effects of nature in time in Baldwin Photo Gallery on November 6,2019. (Veronica Prigmore/ MTSU Sidelines)

Klett’s photographs demonstrate the evolution of time through different influences. 

There are plenty of historic lessons taught by the photographs as well. The Saguaros section of the exhibit teaches the cultural meaning behind the abstract shapes of the cacti portraits. Klett’s photo gallery tells a history lesson without words. There are several historical themes including “After the Ruins,” “Yosemite in Time,” “Reconstructing the View” and others. 

In one project, Klett retraced the steps of a young mining engineer’s journey through the once lawless lands of El Camino del Diablo or “the road of the devil.”  The project took place near Arizona and Mexico. Camion was a place of murder during the nineteenth century. Now, the area is a military bombing range with numerous of military personnel. The photos display a visual perspective of the scenic desert beauty with a violent reminder of the past.

The road of the devil in Baldwin Photo Gallery on November 6, 2019. (Veronica Prigmore/ MTSU Sidelines)

His work merges vintage and digital photographs into one image, an idea that combined the past and present. Klett did not complete the projects by himself. In the Reconstructing the View display, historic photographs of the grand canyon references other nineteenth century photographers. He collaborated with William Bell, Raphael Pumpelly, Timothy O’Sullivan, and others.

A digital and vintage photograph combined into one in Baldwin Photo Gallery on November 6, 2019. (Veronica Prigmore/MTSU Sidelines)

The gallery showcased Klett’s most impressive projects over the last 35 years, while showing artistic variety and teaching a lesson about history by showing that everything is not what it seems.


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