The subject of Mark Klett’s photography is the vast Western landscape and its visual interpretations. He is particularly interested in exposing the effects of time, culture, history and human activity on the landscape and developed the technique of rephotographing to achieve this. From 1977-1979, he was the chief photographer for the Rephotographic Survey Project that reshot, from the same physical location, iconic views of the West by early geological survey photographers who were working in the 1860s. The pairing of these historical and contemporary images of the same landscapes revealed the technical, political and aesthetic decisions made by the 19th century photographers and exposed the ideologies underpinning these supposed neutral images. Later work has focused on quintessential destinations such as the Grand Canyon, Cedar Mesa, Yellowstone, and US/Mexico Border. Referencing visual culture, social science and the language of photography, he demonstrates how our perception of the West is shaped by history of its representation and the role of humans in it, even in its most remote areas.
Klett has a MFA in photography from the State University of New York, Buffalo and a B.S. in geology from St. Lawrence University. He has published over fifteen books and shown his work internationally for over thirty-five years. He has received four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships as well as numerous awards from the likes of the Guggenheim Foundation, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the Japan/US Friendship Commission. He is Regents’ Professor of Art at Arizona State University, where he has taught since 1982.