Enchanting the Desert explicates the space produced by an early-twentieth-century photographic slideshow of the Grand Canyon made by journeyman photographer Henry Peabody. In this narrated series of 43 images viewers were virtually transported to locations around the Canyon through landscape views and oral descriptions, yet the geography of the Canyon that is portrayed remains obscured.
Click on the above images to see them paired with a custom made viewshed map. Learn about the technique developed for this project called photographic georeferencing.
The project "enchants" the Grand Canyon region with a diversity of geographic information, aurally and visually augmenting Peabody's slideshow, paying homage to his early attempts at virtual touring by utilizing present-day digital technology. The user can experience the Grand Canyon from a variety of perspectives simultaneously, affording him or her the opportunity to read the landscape synthetically through interwoven Native American, environmental, tourist, and art historical commentaries.
Speaking to the history of geographic thought, the project re-traces Peabody's steps cartographically, visually, and sonically, offering an interpretation of his "talking film" genre from the perspective of contemporary 1930s geographical theorist Richard Hartshorne. It is, ultimately, an attempt to make proximity - rather than any single disciplinary lens - the central organizing principle for how these national parks are known and experienced.