In the early aughts, Mark Klett traveled through Yosemite National Park to photograph the places where Adams spent much of his life. Klett told the New York Times: “What we saw in the Adams photographs is: ‘This is nature. And it’s beautiful because you’re not there.’” Loewenthal proposes that her own vision offers the opposite experience. She wrote in her artist statement: “I’m extending an invitation, not to view untouchable, pristine places from a distance, but rather to step inside and move beyond the confines of our everyday perceptions.’”
The “male gaze” describes the objectification of women in images, but Loewenthal seems to refer more generally to the way men and women view the world. Is there a male gaze when it comes to capturing the land?
Loewenthal is more influenced by painting than photographs, and her practice involves a unique handbuilt optic that allows her to add colors and reflections, yet still capture the scene in a single exposure. “I’m not trying to make a feminist statement when I’m taking the photographs—I just happen to be female,” Loewenthal said. “I’m not sure that a male photographer would approach landscape the same way I do.”
Loewenthal began the “Psychscapes” after years of experimentation. She has practiced photography for around two decades, following a six-month camping trip around the West, during which she developed her film at one-hour photo spots to teach herself the nuance of analog photography. Mountains were her first inspiration. “They are also very patient subjects for me, and always have been,” she said.