Nature and artifice : Nadav Kander's Yangtze, The Long River

Stara, Alexandra (2019) Nature and artifice : Nadav Kander's Yangtze, The Long River. In: Adler, Gerald and Guerci, Manolo, (eds.) Riverine : architecture and rivers. Abingdon, U.K. : Routledge. ISBN 9781138681750


This paper, selected for publication from the refereed conference Riverine at the University of Kent in 2014, investigates the photographic series Yangtze, The Long River by Nadav Kander as a potential interpretative medium for architecture and landscape. Kander’s work, and this series in particular, are analysed in this context for the first time. The paper focuses on the increasing ambiguity between the concepts of ‘nature’ and ‘artifice’ in our late modern world and the necessity for different media to grasp and engage with it. Photographic theory from Roland Barthes to Jacques Aumont is here brought to bear on studies of landscape and the built environment. Through new analysis of Kander’s photographs, the paper interrogates the tension between binaries complementing the titular nature/artifice – such as found/constructed and realist/abstract. Drawing from but moving beyond the work of contemporary writers in the field such as Liz Wells, the paper builds on the author’s original argument developed in previous and forthcoming papers about the relevance of photography as both analytical and poetic device for architecture and landscape.

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