American Vesuvius: The Aftermath of Mount St. Helens
In 1980 the first significant volcanic eruption in the continental United States since 1915 occurred on Mount St. Helens in Washington State. The force of the explosion was cataclysmic: much of the north face of the mountain slid away and entire forests were flattened. This exhibition brings together important series by two photographers who, working independently, took to the air to reveal nature’s terrifying transformation of the landscape. Emmet Gowin’s images, shot between 1980 and 1984, were his first experience with aerial photography and altered his approach to the landscape. He went on to work extensively with aerial views. Frank Gohlke returned to the region numerous times between 1981 and 1990. His photographs, taken both on the ground and from the air, testify to the volcano’s destructive power but also the stirrings of the land’s rebirth as the years passed.