Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Fine Arts

First Advisor

John N. Heroy Jr.


Webster's gives as an archaic meaning for the verb design "to indicate with a distinctive mark, sign, or name." For the kind of photograph which is essentially taken, not made, the idea of indicating is more appropriate than concepts of building up from a blank sheet of paper. The correct exclamation when this photographer thinks a success has been completed is "Eureka!": "I have found it!"

This paper identifies the topographic landscape as a type of photographic practice, examines the characteristics of the topographic landscape, and traces its development. The concepts of "density" and "the garden" in the topographic landscape are introduced, and a model is offered. An impression of a tradition in the topographic landscape is painted, the antecedent to the photographs represented in the Plates.

In the polemic The Painted Word, Tom Wolfe exaggerated the state of modern art to make a point: the work of art itself is foremost; theory cannot finally carry the piece. The hope here is that the photographs of Verging Gardens do not depend simply on their place in the pictorial lineage for value. As a non-verbal, yet referential, format, the topographic landscape can bring to attention ideas not easily accessible to other methods of expression. The topographic landscape is seen as a vehicle for getting at the real subject, the world, with a kind of poetic objectivity.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission