PlainSky, Nebraskans: Bluff, Power and Blacktop, Dawes County

Bluff and Power Lines, Dawes County

Bluff and Power Lines, Dawes County

A central theme in my “PlainSky, Nebraskans” project is how power structures, like these power poles along Highway 2 in northern Dawes County, are so ubiquitous for Nebraskans that they simply fade from many residents’ visions. Yet, these constructions define in two ways how residents and visitors view the natural beauty of the state; first, the landscape is frequently framed by the poles and wires. Second, since the infinite lines of poles often follow highways, visitors and residents seldom see the Nebraska landscape as separate from these man-made monoliths.

Thus, I resolved to express the landscape of the wilds as not so…wild. Blacktop and power. This is where I differ in philosophy from one of my inspirations, Ansel Adams; I have chosen to exhibit not just a celebration of the emotion of the landscape, but humanity’s desecration of that same view.

As evidence of this philosophy, the effects of that blacktop state of mind in Nebraska often leads to travelers’ disregard for the natural world. Look closely in the image: a half-empty bottle of soda (pop, as Nebraskans call it), tossed from a moving vehicle, finally stopping to rest to the side of the view of the butte. I found it an essential part of the image.

But after I finished the image, I picked the bottle up, put it in the back of my pickup, took it to Chadron with me, dumped it out, and recycled the bottle.

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