Geography and the environment

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videos + essays

Over the next two years, Seeing America will grow to include 100 videos, 18 essays, quizzes, discussion questions and lesson plans.

The business (and art) of seeing the American west
The business (and art) of seeing the American west

Business or pleasure? Watkins could photograph both beautifully.

Celebrating the modern city
Celebrating the modern city

An[...] interpretation of the sensations produced by the confusion of the streets. —Joseph Stella

The landscape remade, Thiebaud’s <em>Ponds and Streams</em>
The landscape remade, Thiebaud’s Ponds and Streams

Can the commonplace working farmland of California's Sacramento River Valley be a place of of breathtaking beauty?

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater

Think you procrastinate? Wright blew this project off for 9 months, then designed his most famous house in 2 hours.

Hetch Hetchy, Yosemite, and the battle for National Parks
Hetch Hetchy, Yosemite, and the battle for National Parks

Captured here in paint, this grand Californian landscape would soon disappear under water.

Light, time, and transcendence in James Turrell’s <em>Skyscape</em>
Light, time, and transcendence in James Turrell’s Skyscape

A viewing station for sunrise and sunset, Turrell’s work manipulates light, time, and perception.

Transforming and honoring the environment at <em>Spiral Jetty</em>
Transforming and honoring the environment at Spiral Jetty

Drought and rain govern when this work of art in Utah’s Great Salt Lake can be seen.

Embodying the forces of nature: the North Wind Mask
Embodying the forces of nature: the North Wind Mask

The Yup’ik peoples, in one of the world’s coldest climates, made these ceremonial masks during the long winters.

“Leave it as it is”: Yellowstone and the creation of the National Parks
“Leave it as it is”: Yellowstone and the creation of the National Parks

In order to capture the beauty of America’s national parks, Brown faced the prejudices of the lawless West.

A breath of fresh air: industrialization and New York’s Central Park
A breath of fresh air: industrialization and New York’s Central Park

To bring “polite sociability” to the city, designers blended nature’s greatest hits into one ambitious park.

Uncoiling the cosmology of the ancient Americas at the Great Serpent Mound
Uncoiling the cosmology of the ancient Americas at the Great Serpent Mound

Many interpretations have been proposed for this mound in modern-day Ohio—examine the clues and see what you think.