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Keywords:

  • environmental perceptions;
  • Grand Canyon;
  • national parks;
  • postcards;
  • Curt Teich;
  • visual representations

abstract.

This research takes a critical look at the interplay of vision and the production of knowledge in the context of cultural constructions of nature and environmental perceptions. The basis for this work is an exploration of the manufacturing process and subject matter in 259 Curt Teich Company postcards of Grand Canyon National Park manufactured from 1936 to 1955. Through a content analysis and interpretation of the postcards, four themes emerge—scenery, vegetation, water, and animals—that reveal the structure of Curt Teich Publishing Company's representation of the Grand Canyon environment. The company employed a printing technique known as “color embellishment” that allowed the manufacturer to alter the postcards with each reprinting and, in the process, create an edited view of nature at the Grand Canyon. This visual shorthand equated a series of selective and repetitive subjects and locations with ideas of scenic, wild, and grand landscapes.