Richard Misrach and Kate Orff's Petrochemical America: Cartographies of the Picturesque

Blinder, Caroline. 2020. Richard Misrach and Kate Orff's Petrochemical America: Cartographies of the Picturesque. Journal of American Studies, 54(3), pp. 582-603. ISSN 0021-8758 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article looks at the landscape photographer Richard Misrach’s collaboration with the architect Kate Orff in Petrochemical America (2012) a prizewinning examination of the effects of the Oil Industry in the Mississippi Delta. Whilst situating its critique of the oil industry in the twentieth and twenty-first century, Petrochemical America nonetheless uses a variety of aesthetic devices from previous centuries and traditions, in particular the use of the picturesque in landscapes of the nineteenth century. Through this, and other mechanisms, the images in Petrochemical America become potential allegories for the paradoxical co-existence of a picturesque nature visibly affected by industrial transformation.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


History of Photography, Eco-Theory, Art-History, The Picturesque, Landscape Photography, The South

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


15 April 2019Accepted
10 February 2020Published Online
July 2020Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

21 Oct 2019 13:18

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2021 09:00

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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