William Van Beckum

This work examines the visual culture of landscape imagery and tourism. By referencing and deconstructing the origins of the American landscape tradition, I create images which present a perspective which is both critical and celebratory of the consumptive nature of humans relationship to images of nature in the modern age.


While teaching photography in New Mexico, I noticed how many of my students simply wished to learn photography in order to capture Ansel Adamsesque images of beautiful scenery. I became interested in understanding what drove people’s urge to capture the beauty of nature in an age where the effects of climate change and industrialization are becoming painfully evident.


These images are made up of many images appropriated from tourists Instagram photographs from popular landscape destinations. The works resemble the picturesque qualities of historical landscape artwork, but also contain alterations and disruptions which challenge the notion that a landscape should be interacted with on a purely aesthetic level. These images ask the viewer to analyze their relationship with nature and consider what they might do to protect that world beyond visual study and landscape tourism.

©William Van Beckum 2017 all rights reserved. Images may not be used without written permission.