More Than Scenery: Yellowstone, an American Love Story by Janet L. Pritchard

Issue 76

The real and ideal landscape of Yellowstone National Park, one of our iconic American landscapes, is the subject of More Than Scenery: Yellowstone, an American Love Story. Each generation invests the park with values reflecting their own historical moment. I survey these relationships photographically from the vantage points of nature, culture, and history. Photographs of visitors in Views from Wonderland, the first in the trilogy, were published in Fraction Magazine, Issue 22: http://www.fractionmagazine.com/janet-pritchard. This issue includes selections from the second and third in the trilogy More than Scenery.

Collecting Yellowstone is a series of photographs of things connected to Yellowstone National Park outside the park. Here in archives, museums, and public and private collections, as well as popular culture references, reminders of the special role this landscape plays, as a national symbol, is made visible. It is easy to remember that Yellowstone is a place real in stone and water, but more difficult to wrap our minds around the fact that it is also an idea. The great western writer and historian Wallace Stegner said that as a nation our national parks are “our best idea” and “highest ideal.” These reminders help us, individually and collectively, to preserve that idea and protect the ideal.

Stories from the Ecosystem is a series of photographs of the land: its natural histories and wonders; and, its intersections of nature and culture. Within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park, lie over half the geothermal features of the world, a richness of wildlife increasingly rare in our times of climate change, and the ideal of preservation. The ideal is lofty but the reality is often messy and litigious. Late-twentieth century scientific understanding recognizes that the area within park boundaries is only part of a much larger ecosystem. Many work in concert to recognize and manage the complexities of the region contained in what is now recognized as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem; these images touch on park resources and issues.

Janet L. Pritchard lives and works in northeast Connecticut and Wyoming.
Janet’s self-titled website is currently under construction, check back soon.

   Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Thomas Moran, Smithsonian

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Thomas Moran, Smithsonian

   Prang Portfolio, 1876, and Old Faithful Live Web Cam, American Antiquarian Society

Prang Portfolio, 1876, and Old Faithful Live Web Cam, American Antiquarian Society

   Rustic Falls + Haynes Vintage Picture Postcard

Rustic Falls + Haynes Vintage Picture Postcard

   Souvenir Spoon Drawer, YNP Museum

Souvenir Spoon Drawer, YNP Museum

   Mustelidae Family in Storage, YNP Museum

Mustelidae Family in Storage, YNP Museum

   Red Rock Point, Haynes Glass Plate Negative #H-1893, Montana Historical Society

Red Rock Point, Haynes Glass Plate Negative #H-1893, Montana Historical Society

   Prairie Exhibit: Elk, Draper Museum of Natural History

Prairie Exhibit: Elk, Draper Museum of Natural History

   “Long May You Roam Free,” Wyoming Tourism Bureau

“Long May You Roam Free,” Wyoming Tourism Bureau

   “Wyoming: Yellowstone Park Obsidian,” Tribune Tower, Chicago

“Wyoming: Yellowstone Park Obsidian,” Tribune Tower, Chicago

   Journal Sketch of the Madison River, Loren Williams, 1879, Newberry Library

Journal Sketch of the Madison River, Loren Williams, 1879, Newberry Library

   Emerald Pool, Black Sand Basin

Emerald Pool, Black Sand Basin

   Emerald Spring, Norris Geyser Basin

Emerald Spring, Norris Geyser Basin

   Orange Spring Mound, Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

Orange Spring Mound, Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

   Overhanging Cliff, Junction Butte basalt

Overhanging Cliff, Junction Butte basalt

   Firehole River in Winter, Upper Geyser Basin

Firehole River in Winter, Upper Geyser Basin

   Old Bridge Abutment, Gardner River

Old Bridge Abutment, Gardner River

   Lake Queen II in Winter Storage, Gardiner, Montana

Lake Queen II in Winter Storage, Gardiner, Montana

   Spring Storm Over Yellowstone River in Gardiner, Montana

Spring Storm Over Yellowstone River in Gardiner, Montana

   Rose Creek Acclimation Pens

Rose Creek Acclimation Pens

   New Head Gate on East Fork of the Wind River, National Elk Refuge

New Head Gate on East Fork of the Wind River, National Elk Refuge