1970, printed 2020
Inkjet print from original Kodachrome negative
Image: 30.3 x 45.7 cm (11 15/16 x 18 in.); Paper: 43.2 x 55.7 cm (17 x 21 15/16 in.)
Gift of Emmie Stonehill Donadio 2020.341
This view was taken on Earth Day 1970 as part of a story on pollution for National Geographic.
James Blair’s view of a steel mill and sun obscured by a beautiful but unhealthy haze of mist, smog, and smoke hearkens back to 1920s views of similar—perhaps even the same—mill by Margaret Bourke-White. In those days, the working mill evoked industrial might, jobs, and wealth. Blair’s high contrast and use of deep black create an ominous, eerie beauty that suggests a far more sinister attitude.
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