Foundation Professor of Art: Photography / Videography
Office: CFA 212
Office Hours: by appt.
Phone: (775) 784-1812
Peter Goin, a Foundation Professor of Art in photography and videography at the University of Nevada, Reno, is the author or coauthor of numerous books about the landscapes of the American West, from a survey of the Mexican-American boundary to a field guide of California agriculture. Peter is also co-author of the Atlas of the New West, a collaborative effort with members of the Center of the American West and the seminal Black Rock, a dedicated investigation of the phenomenal desert region in northern Nevada.
Peter’s photographs have been exhibited in more than fifty museums nationally and internationally, and he is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships
Education1976 M.F.A., University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
major in Photography, minor in Ceramics
1975 M.A., University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
major in Photography
1973 B.A., WITH HIGHEST HONOR, Hamline University,
St. Paul, MN.
major in Political Science
Full range of photography courses, specifically Advanced Photography, History of
Photography, seminars both undergraduate and graduate, and theory.
Recent Exhibitions and/or Publications
A Maritime History of Lake Tahoe. 2012. Arcadia Publishers.
An Introduction to the Nature of California Agriculture. 2011. co-authored with
Paul F. Starrs, University of California Press.
Black Rock. 2010. [co-authored with Paul F. Starrs] Black Rock Institute Press
A Field Guide To California Agriculture. 2010. [co-authored with Paul F. Starrs]
University of California Press. [Recipient of the 2010 J. B. Jackson Prize offered
annually by the Association of American Geographers, acknowledging superlative
scholarship, photography, and writing.]
South Lake Tahoe: Then & Now. 2010. Arcadia Publishers.
Nevada Rock Art, Black Rock Institute Press. [Limited edition Artist Book, 1,000
copies, slip-cased, signed and numbered] [Book of the Year Award Finalist, in
photography, 2009 /2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist Coffee Table
Book Photography/ Pinnacle Book Achievement Book Award, Best Book, Photography
Black Rock Special Jacket edition [125 copies], Lumino Press, Santa Barbara, CA.
[Lumino Press is a Fine Art & Literary Press serving the highest standards of Fine Art
publishing in the United States].
Black Rock Museum, collector edition, very limited slip-case edition, [25 copies],
accompanied by hand-printed original photograph by Peter Goin, [25 copies],
Lumino Press, Santa Barbara, CA.
Lake Tahoe. London: Arcadia Publishers, 2005 [reprinted]
Black Rock, co-authored with Paul F. Starrs. University of Nevada Press, 2005.
[AAUP award, 2005-2006 Trade Illustrated book category and Independent Publisher
Book Awards 2006 Honorable Mention for Best Regional (West-Mountain) Non-
Lake Tahoe. London: Arcadia Publishers, 2005
Changing Mines in America, co-authored with C. Elizabeth Raymond. Sponsored by
the Center for American Places, Harrisonburg, VA. Distributed by the University of
"The Nuclear Past in the Landscape Present," Scott C. Zeman and Michael A.
Amundson, eds., Atomic Culture: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the
Bomb (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2004).
Reissue in paperback. A Doubtful River, co-authored with Mary Webb and Robert
Dawson. (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2000).
Davis, Stephen R., ed. Sagebrush Vernacular: Rural Architecture in Nevada (Reno:
Nevada Humanities committee, 2003). Publication of Peter Goin's student work
documenting rural architecture throughout Nevada. Resulted in a major archive
now held in Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno.
A Doubtful River, co-authored with Mary Webb and Robert Dawson. (Reno:
University of Nevada Press, 2000). [Wilbur S. Shepperson Book Award, Nevada
Material Culture, Signifying the Moment, and The Vicarious and the Visual, three
artist books produced for an installation at the Southeast Museum of Photography,
Daytona Beach, FL. [MC = 45" x 50"; SM & VV = 56" x 40" closed. Each book contains
five mural photographic prints with silkscreen text and copper foil covers].
Atlas of the New West, co-authored with William Riebsame, Patricia Nelson
Limerick and Charles Wilkinson, Center for the American West, Norton, Inc. (20
photographs + captions).
Humanature, University of Texas Press (87 color plates, 34 historical photographs,
12,000 words). [Natural Resources Defense Council Eco Award of Excellence, 1996;
Design award, Southern Books Competition, SLA, 1996].
Stopping Time: A Rephotographic Survey of Lake Tahoe, University of New Mexico
Press (essays by Elizabeth Raymond and Robert E. Blesse), [award from AAUP, 1992;
second printing, 1994; photograph from book selected for Historic Marker at Spooner
Arid Waters: Photographs from the Water in the West Project, University of Nevada
Press, (editor), [Excellence award from AAUP, 1992].
Nuclear Landscapes, Johns Hopkins University Press, 57 color plates, 35 historical
photographs, two essays [Excellence award from Graphic Design USA, December, 1992].
Tracing the Line: A Photographic Survey of the Mexican-American Border
66 tipped-in photographs, limited edition letterpress book, slip-cased.
"Nuclear Landscapes," A portfolio of 44 photographs + a panorama of the Trinity Site in
New Mexico. The first set was published in an edition of three.
"California Agriculture," A portfolio of 60+ images, sleeved and housed in an archival
case. Collected as part of a major, signature archive at the Bancroft Library, University
of California, Berkeley.
Árboles urbanos, collection of 27 pigment prints on Hahnamuhle watercolor paper, 350
gsm, housed in specially constructed archival portfolio case.
Dooby Lane: A Testament Inscribed in Stone Tablets by DeWayne Williams,
Descriptive Text by Gary Snyder, photographs by students and faculty at the University
of Nevada, Reno, Black Rock Press.
Scenes from the Black Rock Desert, Black Rock Press, Reno, Nevada.
[suite of eight toned, gelatin silver prints in an edition of 50 standard & 10 deluxe
versions commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Press]
ELECTRONIC & PRINT PUBLISHING
web site: www.petergoin.com
Black Rock Institute Press Publisher West,
Publishing books on the American the Sierra Nevada, and the Great Basin
Black Rock Institute
Officer, 501(c)(3) dedicated to
studies of the West & Great Basin
--"A Field Guide to California Agriculture," Insight, Jeffrey Callison, host. Capital Public
Radio, 6 September 2010: http://www.capradio.org/resources/audioplayer.aspx?
Angora Fire Project: http://www.flickr.com/
-- "Desert Eclectic," Precipitate [online journal] winter 2009, vol. 1, No. 1, [text + 5
WORKSHOPS AND INTERNATIONAL TEACHING ACTIVITIES
Field workshop, March, spring semester, 2010: Conducted international
photographic fieldwork experience along the Pacific Coast of Mexico, south of Puerta
Vallarta and north of Manzanillo. This is an ongoing collaborative venture with the
photography program at UNR, the Great Basin Institute, University of California
Channel Islands, and with the Universidad de Guadalajara (UdG), Mexico. The work
focuses on scientific study and community interaction/service in La Manzanilla and
within an extensive coastal nature preserve. Student focus teams (12 students)
documented coral reefs, the construction of a community garden, generated visual
typologies, initiated portraits, and recorded scientific data teamwork. This project
resulted in an archive of nearly 3,000 images, including two major beach panoramas
by Professor Peter Goin and ten rephotographic points for later study.
Spring semester, 2008: Taught two new course developments at the Universidad
Iberoamericana in Puebla, Mexico. As one of less than ten artists in the history of
USAC, I developed a digital curriculum for the university. I also served as a pro bono
consultant for the university regarding developing a digital photography program.
My Mexican students were mostly faculty from the university, and include both
the past- and the current Chairs of the Department of Art, Architecture and Design.
Numerous students from around the United States participated, along with Mexican
students, resulting in a well-attended public exhibition in a highly reputable
alternative space, Espacio Catorce in downtown Puebla. Included in the curriculum
was the History of Photography course.
Summer, 2006: Taught ART 236 ~ An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of
Digital Photography. This was a new course development for USAC, Universidad de
Iberoamerica, Puebla, Mexico.
ARTICLES & other PUBLICATIONS
--"Fly Geyser," Exploring Color Photography From Film to Pixels by Robert Hirsch. 2011.
Focal Press, Oxford, p. 257.
--"Atomic Pop," chapter in Mackedon, Michon. 2010. Bombast Spinning Atoms in the Desert.
Reno: Black Rock Institute Press. Pps. 107-130. [Indie Excellence® Awards 2011, Regional
Non-Fiction - Winner/ 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards, West-Mountain, Best
Regional Non-Fiction - Silver / ForeWord Reviews 2010 Book Of The Year Award, Regional
- Gold / Next Generation Indie Award, Finalist; Current Events/Social Change, 2011 / Best
Books in the category of Non Fiction, NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award Winners for
--"Earth Angel Arthritic Mine," in Van Wyck, Peter. The Highway of the Atom (Montreal:
McGill Queen's University Press, 2010).
--"Peter Goin." Blanc, Nathalie and Julie Ramos, editors. Écoplasties: Art et Environnement.
2010. Imprimerie Snel à Liè, Belgium.
--"Missile Bravo 20," cover photograph. Beck, John. Dirty Wars: Landscape, Power, and
Waste in Western American Literature (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2010).
--"Petroglyphs near Winnemucca Dry Lake" p. 47. Robertson, Colin M. "Chris Drury:
Toward an Ecological Conscience in Environmental Art," Chris Drury Mushrooms/Clouds
by Ann M. Wolfe. 2009. The Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago.
--Pyramid Lake, Nevada,' p. 54-55, accompanying "The Coyote and the Stars: Indigenous
Paiute Story as told in Paiute and English by Ralph Burns." Chris Drury Mushrooms/Clouds
by Ann M. Wolfe. 2009. The Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago.
--"Rock Art in Nevada: If Only Lines could Talk," In Focus [annual journal of the Churchill
County Museum Association] Vol. 23, No 2. P. 109-117.
--"Stone Mother, Pyramid Lake, Nevada" p. 43-44, accompanying "Stone Mother:
Indigenous Paiute Story as told in Paiute and English by Ralph Burns." Chris Drury
Mushrooms/Clouds by Ann M. Wolfe. 2009. The Center for American Places at Columbia
--"Rio Grande," "Last International Ferry at Los Ebanos," & "Pump Station abandoned near
Kinney, Texas," included in Goodman, Audrey. Lost Homelands: Ruin and Reconstruction in
the Twentieth-Century Southwest (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2010).
--"Tallado de Maguey," and "Corazón," Alebrije, No. 34, pps. 2,4, October, 2010. [Journal of
Art, Culture, Literature, History, Society; published in Puebla, Mexico]
--"Peter Goin Interview: In Search of Ritual," by Simpson, Jeanmarie. Buzzine magazine
(http://www.buzzine.com/2008/12/peter-goin-interview/), initiated in December, 2008,
continuing into 2009.
--Photographs Sedan Crater and Doom Town House included in "Photographing the
Postmodern West," The West of the Imagination by William H. Goetzmann and William N.
Goetzmann (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2009) 2nd ed., p. 513.
--Source photograph from A Doubtful River used in Journalism 451, UNR, placed
online via Nevada Humanities online encyclopedia.
Tahoe Science Plan fall, 2009, University of Nevada
Academy for the environment, University of Nevada, Reno. [Cover/back cover + 7
--Bernard, Etienne. "Peter Goin, La Humanature: Revendiquer Le Paysage Vernaculaire,"
[photographs from the Humanature series], O2, sommaire 02/45, printemps 2008, p. 18-
--Bustamamente, Jorge A., Virginia García Acosta, Néstor García Canclini, Cecilia Imaz
Bayona, Elisa Ramírez Casteñeda, and Verónica Volkow. Raíces: Identidad y Migración.
2008. Fundación BBVA Bancomer, México, D.F., México. [Multiple photographs of the
--Branch, Michael. "Lifeblood of the Desert," [aerial photograph of Truckee River by Peter
Goin], Tahoe Quarterly, Fall, 2007, p. 56.
--"Black Rock," El Huacal, Universidad Iberoamerican, Puebla, Mexico. No. 2, 2007, p. 38-
39. [Note: this is in Spanish].
--"Black Rock Desert Region ~ Washoe, Persing and Humboldt Counties," Nevada's
Last Chance Scenic Places (Reno: Scenic Nevada, 2007). [2 pages, 4+ photographs and
--"Narrative Photograms in Public Art," Artist Pages adjoining article "Viva! Nevada Risks &
Rewards: Nevada's Public Art," by Jarret Keene and Robert Tracey, Public Art Review, Issue
36, Spring/Summer 2007, p. 62-69.
--Goin, Peter and Paul F. Starrs. "Black Rock," Neon, Winter, 2005-2006 issue, Cover + text,
--"Lake Mead, After Sunset," Photographers of the West (Phoenix: Snell & Wilmer, 2007).
--"Landscape and Images," The Geographical Review, Vol. 95, No. 4, p. 620-622. [book
review: John Stilgoe, Landscape and Images (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press,
--"Magical Realism; The West as Spiritual Playground," Hausladen, Gary J. ed. Western
Places, American Myths (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2006, first edition in paperback).
--"Playa at Bravo 20 Bombing Range near Fallon, Nevada," Issues in Science and
Technology, Vol. 22, No. 2, p. 11.
--"Voices from Abroad," USAC Website, November, 2006.
--"Militarizing the Great Basin," High Desert Journal, Spring, 2005, No. 1, p. 23-27.
--"Orchard Site," Hirsch, Robert. Exploring Color Photography: From the Darkroom to the
Digital Studio, 4th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2005), p. 292
--"Shadow Figure in Forest," The Polaroid Book, (Cologne, Germany: Taschen Art
--"A Dirt Floor Classroom," Silver & Blue, Vol. XV, No. 3, p. 10-12.
--[Contributor], Rothenberg, David and Wandee J. Pryor. Writing the Future: Progress and
Evolution (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004).
--"Careers in Visual Literacy," Reno Gazette-Journal, Sunday, June 27, 2004, Section G, p. 1.
--Cover photograph on Jimmy Santiago Baca's Winter Poems Along the Rio Grande (New
York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2004).
--Cover and back photographs for Nevada Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey Time
Trend Analysis: 1994-2002, (publication date December, 2003, received March, 2004).
--"Once Upon A Time in Mexico," Silver & Blue, Jan/Feb 2004. P. 10-12.
--Photographs from Stopping Time: A Rephotographic Survey of Lake Tahoe used in Lands
in Transition: Complex Decisions in the Lake Tahoe Basin, Alan Taylor, David Howard, and
Shaun Faith, Penn State CD publication.
--"Shadow Figure in Forest," Crist, Steve, Ed., The Polaroid Book (Koln: Taschen, 2005), p.
--"Water in the West: Lake Powell," FotoFest H20 04. (Houston: FotoFest, Inc., 2004). P.
--Bryan-Julia. "Not a Place of Honor: Building a Landscape of Nuclear Warning," article in
anthology edited by Margaret Olin and Robert Nelson. (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 2003). [photograph of Trinity Site].
--"The Evolving Landscape of Lake Tahoe," Contexts, Vol. 2, No. 1, Winter, 2003, p. 69.
--Macy, Christine and Sara Bonnemaison. Architecture and Nature: Creating the American
Landscape, Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2003. [Collapsed Hangar photograph].
--"Magical Realism; The West as Spiritual Playground," Hausladen, Gary J. ed. Western
Places, American Myths (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2003).
--"A Meditation on our Nuclear Landscape," co-authored with Rachelle Linner. The Sign of
Peace, Vol 2, No. 3, p. 6-7.
--"Surveying the Visual," Davis, Stephen R., ed. Sagebrush Vernacular: Rural
Architecture in Nevada (Reno: Nevada Humanities committee, 2003). Publication
of Peter Goin's student work documenting rural architecture throughout Nevada.
Resulted in a major archive now held in Special Collections, University of Nevada,
--"Tractor in sky along Highway 34 northwest of Denver," and "Bravo 20 Bombing Range,
Carson Sink, near Stillwater Wildlife Refuge, Nevada," The Land Report, Number 77, Fall,
2003, p. 11, 13.
--"American Byzantium: Photographs of Las Vegas," Nevada Historical Quarterly, Vol. 45,
No. 2, Summer, 2002. P. 117-118.
--Castillo, Debra A. and Maria Socorro Tabuenca Cordoba. Border Women: Writing from la
Frontera. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002). [cover photograph].
--"Discordant Infrastructure, " chapter included in book, Davis, Mike and Hal Rothman, eds.
The Grit Beneath the Glitter (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).
--"Nuclear Landscapes (Portfolio)," Grand Street, Vol. 18, No. 2, Spring, 2002, p. 180-186.
--"Nevada: The Leave-It State," Agricultural History, Vol. 76, No. 2, Spring, 2002, p. 308-325
[text + photographs + cover of journal].
--Overby, Charlotte. "The Uranium Eaters: A Novel Strategy in the War on Waste,"
Spring, 2002, p. 30-33. [3 Nuclear Landscapes photographs accompany article].
--[photograph accompanying article] Coupland, Douglas, Adbusters: Journal of the Mental
Environment, Jan/Feb, 2002.
--[photograph accompanying article] "Smithsonian Barn Exhibit will Tour Nevada in 2003,"
Touchstone, Vol. 24, No. 3, p. 4. (Publication of the Nevada Humanities Committee).
--[photographs from Nuclear Landscapes used in cover art for 12" record] Rupture
(author's name), Unciviliz (12" underground electronic music record + CD) from the
project, "Build a fort, set that on fire," Soot Records, New York, NY.
--[Shadow Figure/Crater Lake and Grebe Nest photographs] "The Land Institute Annual
Report," The Land Report, Number 73, Summer ,2002, p. 26, 28.
--[Three photographs from A Doubtful River reproduced in the Reno-Tahoe International
Airport light boxes].
--Glendinning, Chellis. "Fear and Loathing in Los Alamos: On the Lam from the Cerro
Grande Fire," Orion, Winter, 2001, Vol. 20, No. 1, p. 51-59. [Active burn conducted
at Peachtree Rock Preserve by Nature Conservancy personnel in South Carolina &
Crystal Peak Fire near Verdi, CA photographs included with article].
--"Living in Anthracite: Mining Landscape and Sense of Place in Wyoming Valley,
Pennsylvania," The Public Historian, Vol. 23, No. 2, p. 29-45 (Spring, 2001). [Co-
authored article with Elizabeth Raymond].
--"Ramade, Benedicte. "Supernatural: Is there Life after Land Art? Peter Goin
and the Ecological Art Movement," Rebel magazine, Fall, 2001, p. 118. [article by
Benedicte Ramade+ four photographs, p. 120-121].
--"Recycled Landscapes: Mining's Legacies in the Mesabi Iron Range," Designer/
Builder, Vol. 8, No. 4, September-October, 2001, p. 33-43. [Co-authored article with
--"Redeeming a Post-Mining Landscape," JAE vol. 54, no. 3, (Feb. 2001), 195-197.
[Co-authored article with Elizabeth Raymond].
--"Visual Literacy," Geographical Review, Vol. 91, Nos. 1 &2, p. 363-69.
A FIELD GUIDE TO CALIFORNIA AGRICULTURE. The first in a two-book
investigation of the nature of California agriculture. Incidentally, this field guide is
the first guide to agricultural crops, animals, and products in the history of the field
Who hasn't had the experience of driving by a field, looking out, and
asking, "What IS that?" A Field Guide to California Agriculture (University of
California Press, 2010; co-author, Paul F. Starrs), invokes a simple premise. As a
rule, the generally urban population no longer knows much about agriculture, which
is the predominant use of California's private land (and, given ranching, no
insignificant part of public land). So much of the world has been transformed by
human action that confining "natural history" to features reflecting little overt
human action is dangerous; we say, let's also understand activities like agriculture,
which span California and reflect basic changes in the land.
Current-day documentation of agriculture derives from an award winning
photographer, author or co-author of more than nine books: Foundation Professor
of Art Peter Goin. By and large the text for the Field Guide was written by Paul F.
Starrs, a geographer trained at UC Berkeley whose first book was about cattle
ranching in the American West, and who is Professor of Geography. The Field Guide
offers distribution information, a means of identifying crops and livestock, and
discusses regional variations in agricultural data.
This is excerpted text of the award presentation for the 2010 John
Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize:
The JB Jackson Prize was established to encourage and reward American
geographers who write books about the United States that convey the insights of
professional geography, exemplifying the best work in the tradition of cultural
geography. The 2010 AAG Jackson Prize is awarded to Paul F. Starrs and Peter
Goin for their book entitled, Field Guide to California Agriculture, published by the
University of California Press.
For interested readers anywhere, the Field Guide to California Agriculture
offers a comprehensive description of the state's agricultural products and
landscapes. The book is also an atlas, a statistical catalogue, a regional geography, a
botanical treatise, a geographical history, and a glorious photographic gallery. Its
nearly 500 pages explain in detail how the state's farmers have created the world's
richest and most complex agricultural landscape. Its color photographs not only
document plants and landscapes, they also offer artistic interpretation of farm and
field. A well-crafted comprehensive index ties the contents together to allow
immediate access to any of its intriguing subjects. Field Guide to California
Agriculture is exhaustively researched and documented. It is also a highly readable
and penetrating geographical interpretation of the varied economic, social, and
environmental systems that have been assembled over two centuries to create an
American agricultural colossus.
For their thorough study of the social, political, and environmental
geographies of America's agricultural cornucopia, their creative photography and
narrative that exemplify the finest in landscape geography, we are pleased to award
the 2010 AAG Jackson Prize to Paul F. Starrs and Peter Goin for Field Guide to
NEVADA CODICES. The era of chemical, or analog, photography is ending. The
transformation from the wet-process to the cyber-world of digital image-making
has earnestly begun. The opportunities for investigating new worlds, alternative
methods of making images, while still using the photographic record, are expanding.
Throughout my career, I have worked with the visual narrative panel,
specifically employing the photogram ~ truly the photographer's theater. The
process involves laying objects – such as drawn, cut-out, constructed elements
including ten individual sections for each figure – on light-sensitive paper, exposing
the paper to light, and developing the paper through normal chemical processes.
The objects project shadows of white light, creating the photogram. The largest wall
work measured 16' x 24' and was exhibited at the Nevada Museum of Art.
Continuing with the concept of the pictographic/narrative core, and using
sources from pre-Columbian book-style codices, I propose creating color-pigment
panels on watercolor paper, 44" x 60", incorporating visual symbols, narratives, and
metaphors of living in Nevada during this era of uncertainty and inevitable cultural
change. Photographing objects, individuals dressed in performative attire, and
codifying a narrative sequence are essential elements in this new direction.
This is a new investigation, using a sweep wall (a seamless horizon, floor to
ceiling, for photographing subjects suitable for transforming into panels). With a
fully functional artificial studio set-up, I only need to complete the horizon-less wall,
paint it, install the lighting, and begin working. The computer work can be
accomplished on existing platforms, using Photoshop 5, and with existing macro-
NEVADA ROCK ART. Designed and intended for the Fine Art Limited Edition book
market, Nevada Rock Art is produced at the highest standards of offset printing,
using eight color-presses designed for Fine Art publishing. There are 1,000 limited
edition copies, signed and numbered, bound and slip cased for permanence and
The essayists are Foundation Professors Peter Goin and Paul F. Starrs, and
including Angus Quinlan, Executive Director of the Nevada Rock Art Foundation,
and posthumously Alanah Woody, and Mark Boatwright, BLM archeologist.
Nevada Rock Art contains rarely seen images that are themselves artifacts of
fieldwork conducted throughout the back roads, valleys, summits, drainages, and
mountain ridges of Nevada. From the northernmost wildlife refuge to the sun-
blasted southern tip of creosote-bush country, the process of photographing is itself
a testimonial to better than two decades of exploring and experiencing Nevada's
beguilingly diverse landscapes.
Nevada Rock Art centers on the scholarly nature of artistry, celebrating the
human spirit of people past. Naturally, rock carvings exist in situ, sentinel silent
artifacts of eras long ago. Let the story begin; remember to look closely, with respect
and reverence, for the marks reveal themselves to those pure of hearth and intent.
LAKE TAHOE [three books]. The Washoe Indians called it Tah-ve, an
unfathomable liquid sapphire set in a 500-square-mile reservoir of alpine snow
and ice. Too deep and vast to freeze, Lake Tahoe's waters have, over time, reflected
pristine forests, barren hillsides littered with slash and sawdust, managed
restoration, and the glow of neon casino marquees. Its spectacular natural
landscape, shared by both California and Nevada, is more designed than people
realize. Man transformed most of the old trees into mine shafts and cities. When
the railroad, and later the automobile, domesticated the lake, putting it within
recreational reach of the middle class, much of Lake Tahoe's shore became a
Lake Tahoe is located along a political border that creates a unique merger
of a naturalist and gaming economy. Through archival, historical photographs, the
first book celebrates the history of Lake Tahoe, and the second volume, forthcoming
in 2009, investigates landscape change with a "Then and Now" rephotographic
survey of views originating from Stateline to Homewood and centering on the
greater landscape of South Lake Tahoe.
The manuscript for the third book, A Maritime History of Lake Tahoe, is due
to Arcadia Publishers on 8 August, 2011.
BLACK ROCK. The project and book is a major, art produced book about Nevada's
Black Rock country by two Nevada-based authors and artists. The book locates, surrounds,
and then attempts a lyrical interpretation of Black Rock, a piece of Nevada about the size
of Delaware and only 100 miles northeast of Reno. Using photography, maps and text,
Peter Goin and Paul F. Starrs grapple with a place that's never been well known, but which
rocketed to prominence in the last decade as setting for the so-called Burning Man festival,
which each Labor Day weekend makes "Black Rock City" on the playa the tenth-largest city
in the state.
The text and the photographs bear witness to a place defined by movement, where the
land won't stay still. The story is an accounting of the people who move thereand leave, or
move thereand stay. It is about making sense of the senses, not one at a time, but altogether:
From the Granite Range to playa surface salts, from the black rock to the solitary spring,
this is a land of perspectives and elements. Indeed, Black Rock contains within its borders
all the elements of Nevada: water, air, light, fire, forests, earth, a town (Gerlach), and a
vast subterranean world. The project, in film and phrase, is about understanding how what
came to be the Black Rock Desert ceased being a single place and evolved into many, while
remaining a place of singular heart.
CHANGING MINES IN AMERICA. A collaborative project by Peter Goin and
C. Elizabeth Raymond: This project examines the visual and cultural legacy of
mining landscapes in the U.S. We seek to examine the history of attitudes toward
these "waste places," where technology has transformed the landscape to such an
extent that--as one mining engineer puts it--"man has now become a geologic force
in himself." [Bennett] In our collaborative work we seek to give equal weight to
visual and textual evidence. The selected sites include:
Rawhide, Nevada: Explores the irony of a location that became nationally
famous in 1908 for its intoxicating boom town atmosphere and its much touted
potential for wealth; but produced no real value for nearly 80 years.
American Flat, Nevada: Visualizes the "physical graffiti" of a 1920s sodium-
within the Comstock, where a vibrant culture of graffiti artists, paint-ball
enthusiasts, performance artists, and teenage rebels have brought unanticipated
uses to a crumbling concrete mine site.
Eagle Mountain, California: Surrounded by Joshua Tree National Park in
the Mohave Desert, this site, a former iron mine, is being contested as a solid waste
disposal site for southern California refuse.
Bingham Canyon, Utah: The time scale of reclamation activities is beyond
human scale as this enormous mine pit consumes nearby communities.
Karnes County, Texas: Uranium mining sites within this county are
currently undergoing reclamation and restoration with little visible evidence of
mining history, except for radioactive markers. Serious issues of long-term toxicity
have been raised.
Mesabi Iron Range, Minnesota: The Mesabi Iron Range was a massive
mining range that proved to be the making of the U.S. steel industry. This site
embodies the evolution of reclamation and mining tourism, including the theme
park, "Iron World."
Butte, Montana: Our work at this site focuses on the Radon Baths, which
are old Montana Mine shafts furnished as radioactive health spas.
Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania: One of three anthracite coal fields in
northeastern Pennsylvania, Wyoming Valley's residents, mostly the descendants of
immigrant coal miners, live in a landscape that is entirely an artifact of mining. Here
the landscape and the culture of mining have formed the residents' sense of place.
A DOUBTFUL RIVER. Water in the American West is sprayed from ornamental
fountains, recycled through human made waterfalls, and generated as ocean
waves in land-locked wild water oases. A charitable visitor might believe water
is plentiful. Yet aridity is inescapable….so begins this collaborative study of the
complex Truckee River watershed, the site of the first federal irrigation scheme,
the Newlands Project. Co-authored with Robert Dawson and Mary Webb, this
project offers testimony to the importance of community living within shared and
sustainable [water] resources. Published by the University of Nevada Press.
HUMANATURE. Today, wilderness is more a cultural idea than a physical reality. Nature
is under siege as people shape every last inch of the global habitat. From creating savanna
through fire to contaminating regional watersheds with industrial pollutants and
radioactivity, to engineering new and radically different plants and animals, the forest
primeval is now a human product. Even the definition of nature is a human product, and
reveals more about culture than about the web of life.
Most Americans still dream that nature is the same scene as what they think the
seventeenth- and eighteenth-century explorers saw in the New World during the era of
westward expansion. But we know this is not the case. The air we breathe is an industrial
composite. Rainfall is a human product instead of the most basic source of life. Rivers and
lakes are elements within a water-management-system. Forests are manufactured and
harvested like soybeans and corn. Animals are controlled, bred, and genetically designed.
Insects are raised in massive numbers, then irradiated and released. Rocks are
made "natural" by spraying cement onto wire forms and adding the right colors. Plants and
trees are made from plastic. Beaches are re-constructed. Everywhere I look, nature is an
The idea of wilderness is part of the paradigm of Nature that has been created and
maintained in order to realize cultural, economic, and spiritual goals. In our attempt to
manipulate biotic communities for human purposes, we have forgotten to account for
human nature. These color photographs document the pervasive control of "nature."
Humanature was recently published by The University of Texas Press.
WATER IN THE WEST.
The Water in the West Project is a photographic response to
the growing water crisis that exists because our culture thinks of water as a commodity, or
an abstract legal right, rather than the most basic physical source of life. The Water in the
West project is a broad based collaboration among thirteen other photographers and an
historian/critic; founded in part by Robert Dawson, Peter Goin, Mark Klett and Ellen
Manchester. Selections of our decade long commitment are archived at the Center for
Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson. An important publication
documents the origins of the project and places it into context of collaborative
photographic projects: Arid Waters, edited by Peter Goin and Text by Ellen Manchester,
published by the University of Nevada Press in 1992.
Water in the American West is sprayed from ornamental fountains, recycled through
human made waterfalls, and generated as ocean waves in land-locked wild water oases.
Although western states are growing in population at a phenomenal rate, water resources
have already been fully allocated. The ancient and irreplaceable waters in the aquifers are
being pumped out at an ever-increasing rate. Also, as most of us know, the Colorado River ,
the Truckee River where most Western water law was first adjudicated, and the American
River, like most if not all other western rivers, have been over-subscribed for decades.
Peter Goin's photographs represent nearly twenty years of documenting aridity in
lands previously ignored, exploited, or defined as well, simply ugly. Series of photographs
focus on the Great Basin inland region, defined as the large area of interior drainage in the
western United States comprising most of Nevada, parts of Utah, Idaho, California,
Wyoming, and Oregon, including the Great Salt Lake, the Mohave Desert, Death Valley, and
the Carson Sink. These photographs provide visual evidence of stark desert horizons, dry
reservoirs, threatened wildlife refuges, and evaporating ponds, among others. Desert lake
beds are bleak reminders of the absence of water, and of the increasing aridity of these
areas. I have felt compelled to bear witness to the growing crisis of water scarcity, which
exists because we as people often fail to understand the consequences of our water use
Complementary projects and publications are A Doubtful River, Stopping Time: A
Rephotographic Survey of Lake Tahoe, and Black Rock, among others.
NUCLEAR LANDSCAPES. A color landscape photographic survey published by The Johns
Hopkins University Press in May, 1991. This project investigates and documents evidence
of the cultural modification of nuclear landscapes, and includes images at Nevada's
Nuclear Test Site, the Hanford Nuclear Area, the Trinity Site, and the Marshall Islands.
STOPPING TIME: A Rephotographic Survey of Lake Tahoe.
Comparing 19th and early 20th century photographs with contemporary rephotographs
taken at the same site, this work interprets and provides evidence of the scale of landscape
change at one of America's most renowned alpine lakes. Published by the University of
New Mexico Press, Spring, 1992.
TRACING THE LINE: A Photographic Survey of the Mexican-American
Border. A survey of the border from Brownsville, Texas to Tijuana, Mexico. It investigates
the relationship of the border line to the landscape. Some of the issues include how the
boundary line divides the landscape, what evidence of land-use is created by the line, how
the visual space is changed, how the line becomes part of the landscape, and whether there
is a distinction between the arbitrary human-made and 'natural' landscape. Published
October, 1987. Collected by major research libraries.
NARRATIVE PHOTOGRAMS. 600 photograms, 5 stories. Influenced by E. Muybridge's
nimal Locomotion, these stories record my observations of struggle and power between
men and women and men and themselves. Each narrative is 5'x5.' This project has been
widely exhibited. One narrative was the title piece for the "Anxious Interiors" traveling
exhibit initiated by the Laguna Beach Museum. The Triton Museum of Art and the
Monterey Museum of Art have exhibited the work, among others. (Received Nevada Artist
Fellowship in 1988 to produce a novel in photogram form).
LIGHT PICTOGRAPHS. A portfolio of selenium toned photographs interpreting the
history, style, and intent of markings on the landscape. References to early pictographs are
duplicated, especially the symbol of the hand and the standing figure.
EVOLVING LANDSCAPES. A continuing series of photographs documenting the delicate
balance between exploitation and the land's ability and tendency to regenerate. Recent
work focuses on an investigation of declining water resources under the title of "Water in
the West." Other sites are located throughout the U.S., including the Mesabi Iron Range
in Minnesota, Kudzu growth in Alabama, mining & earth-works in Louisiana, abandoned
stage roads in Colorado, and the overgrown Erie Canal Network in New York, among many
MISSION DISTRICT. A series of photographs documenting the relationship between
the architecture, foliage, land & space in the Mission District of San Francisco. These
photographs reflect the variety of architecture & how the visual elements within the urban
landscape compare & contrast. As primary evidence, they can be used to reveal distinctive
patterns & contrasts that characterize how the urban space is used.
MAYAN RUINS. A portfolio of silver monoprints documenting the decay and ruin of meso-
American structures throughout Central American.
Structures of Everyday Life. Using entirely digital technology, this 56:40 minute program
weaves together narrative and visual vignettes with expressive footage of rave music
events. The vignettes are selected from months of intense videotaping during school
lunch breaks, at parties, at night, with friends and even during the most intimate moments.
Topics include honest expressions of sense-of-self, sexuality and teenage pregnancy,
drug use, feelings of isolation, and finally, healing. The rave, an underground music
scene catering to adolescents, thrives in the Reno area and in nearby Sacramento. These
visually dynamic dancing and music 'performances,' perfect metaphors for adolescent
expression, are the warp of this program; the vignettes are the wefts. The central theme of
the program is about adolescents speaking their language, their views, and expressing their
desire for acceptance. Healing is the concluding passage into adulthood. This program was
aired in 2001. [Selected by PBS as Station Link, week of February 19-25, 2001].
Nuclear Monsters. Nuclear Monsters is a video art project designed for non-profit,
educational viewing identifying "nuclear" movies as an important element in our
cultural history. Including images from more than sixteen science fiction nuclear-
age movies combined with old Atomic Age archival footage from the Department of
Energy, the Atomic Energy Commission, the National Archives and other repository
sites, Nuclear Monsters is a visual fascination with the monsters symbolizing our
collective fear of the nuclear era. Insightful, ironic, informative and humorous,
Nuclear Monsters is a haunting interpretation of the nuclear era 1950s-1980s. The
program aired on KNPB Channel 5 at 9:30 PM, April 28.
In Search of Ritual: The Burning Man. The Burning Man was founded by San Francisco
Artist Larry Harvey four years ago. Held every Labor Day weekend in the Black Rock
Desert 117 miles north of Reno, Nevada, this event is characterized by a variety of art
performances, happenings, and spontaneous celebrations. Nearly 800 people attended the
event during 1993, and they camped in a large circle in the middle of the vast dry lake bed.
The focus of the event is the Sunday-evening burning of a forty-foot-tall wooden figure
outfitted with blue neon.
In Search of Ritual: The Burning Man video interprets this "neo-pagan" art festival
from a different documentary approach. While many documentaries are characterized by
the disembodied yet soothing narrative voice, this project sought to employ only the voices
of the participants. Instead of the single authoritative voice, many voices are heard,
including Burning Man originator Larry Harvey, Ranger Danger, the Mud People, Joe (drive-
by shooting range), "Aboriginal" Matt, Pyro-Man, Butterfly Lady, Santa Claus, the Archers,
and Reverend Al, among others. Because the spirit of the festival reflected the creed, "no
observers, only participants," the video crew actually participated in the event, as shown by
the camera angles during the filming of the ceremonial burning. Also, all audio and video
originated from the event, with the background music the only exception. The resulting
montage was not intended to tell a single story, but instead reflects the chaos, energy, and
spirit of the ritualized event. This program is due for national PBS syndication in 1994-
1995. Nominated for an EMMY in 1994.
Protest Theater. The Nevada Test Site encompasses 1,350 square miles in southern
Nevada, employs over 8,000 people, and has an annual budget of over $800 million.
Since January, 1951, over 900 nuclear weapons have been exploded above and below the
Nevada Test Site, including 22 joint tests with the United Kingdom. Despite precautionary
measures, radioactive fallout occasionally leaks following a test. The video Protest Theater
documents live, collaborative theater performed as a demonstration against the testing
of nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site. These demonstrations are theatrical because
they are marked by significant pretense and artificiality of emotion, a primary definition
As in all performances, there is a script and the many actors know and play their
roles with sincerity. Music accompanies the events, and the audience is urged to
participate. The costumes reflect the cultural diversity present in this theater. There are
puppets, clowns, props, and most of all, a dramatic stage we call the landscape. Although it
appears that everybody is play-acting, actual arrests are being made. Tempers may flare,
but nobody is seriously hurt. This protest took place on January 5, 1991, at the gate to the
Nevada Test Site.
Bravo 20 Bombing Range. The bombing range is located within the Carson Sink near the
Stillwater Wildlife Refuge, and has been used by the Navy as a test range for more than
forty years. This short interpretative documentary is a commentary on the use of Nevada's
deserts for military bombing exercises (running time 6 mins).