Peter Goin

Mary Kavanagh

Peter Goin was born in the United States but as a child lived abroad in Indonesia, Turkey, and Brazil before finding his permanent home in Reno, Nevada.  Originally trained as a political scientist, Peter discovered that politics was more about power than ideas and now he is the only Foundation Professor of Art at the University of Nevada, Reno. With his photographs exhibited in over fifty museums, nationally and internationally, Peter is author or co-author of more than 20 books, including:

Black Rock; Changing Mines in America; Colors of California Agriculture; Dooby Lane; Humanature; Lake Tahoe: A Photographic History, 1860-1960; A New Form of Beauty: Glen Canyon Beyond Climate Change; Nevada Rock Art; Nuclear Landscapes; Time and Time Again: History, Rephotography, and Preservation in the Chaco World; Tracing the Line: A Photographic Survey of the Mexican-American Border

In an innovative collaboration published in 2022, Peter Goin and the Photography of Environmental Change: Visual Literacy and Altered Landscapes, trailblazing ecocritic Cheryll Glotfelty reveals the mind behind the lens and focuses on Goin’s lifetime of bearing witness, providing fresh insights to an environmental legacy of radioactive landscapes, abandoned mines, simulated swamps, industrialized agriculture, architected wilderness, contested borderlands, and sacred wastelands. The more than two hundred photographs challenge conventional thinking, asking us to notice landscapes that have been altered, avoided, or condemned and then view them in a daringly positive light. Embracing more than seventy interviews and conversations, Glotfelty and Goin’s intellectual partnership evolved into a unique biographical form, a retrospective that delivers lucid lessons in visual literacy. Glotfelty’s illuminating commentaries are concrete examples of how to critically read Peter Goin’s coded photographs, while the appendix, written by Goin, lays out a step-by-step process for analyzing any photograph. This visually compelling exploration investigates and enriches the language of photography. This unique book is an indispensable companion for studying photography, art history, the Anthropocene, environmental humanities, and beyond.

Embracing a lyrical and poetic vision of both place and books, Peter is a photographer who serves as a witness of the evolving landscape in the Great Basin and beyond.

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