1970, printed 2020
Inkjet print from original Kodachrome negative
Image: 17.7 x 45.7 cm (6 15/16 x 18 in.); Paper: 43.1 x 55.8 cm (16 15/16 x 21 15/16 in.)
Gift of Emmie Stonehill Donadio 2020.342
In 1969, the Cuyahoga River became the poster child for water pollution.
This photograph was made less than a year after the Cuyahoga River came to national prominence for catching fire. James Blair, shooting a story on pollution for National Geographic, chose a panorama format and a low viewpoint so that ironwork structures loom overhead. The ruined pier occupying the center foreground suggests obsolescence and predicts the economic decline that turned the Great Lakes into the Rust Belt.
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