by James Welling
Diana Muir’s Reflections in Bullough’s Pond: Economy and Ecosystem in New England (University Press of New England) untangles the complicated interrelation of natural history and technology in southern New England. Muir offers a profusion of scientific detail framed by the author’s reflections on minute changes in the small millpond outside her window. In tracing both the rise and fall of such diverse enterprises as shoemaking, cotton spinning, and papermaking and their environmental consequences–lifeless rivers, waterways impossible for shad to negotiate, land depleted of topsoil–Muir excavates the environmental foundations of our age with profound completeness. Reflections in Bullough’s Pond should be a sourcebook for everyone who cares about landscapes and technology.
“James Welling: Photographs 1974-1999” is on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art until Dec. 10; the retrospective travels to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in May 2001.
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