Imaging a Shattering Earth: Contemporary Photography and the Environmental Debate
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Reno, Nevada

When a person thinks of pollution and smog, one usually thinks of California and how dirty the air is in the vicinity of Los Angeles. Smog is inevitable in that region because it is so largely congested with people, and there are many different ways to produce pollution—through trains, buses, cars, and factories. In California, this type of pollution is commonplace.

However, one would not expect smog in Reno, Nevada. We are more accustomed to think of Reno is an exquisite desert oasis. Yet, contrary to expectation, Goin's triptych of Reno clearly captures the ugliness of smog, while also commenting upon urban expansion. One can't help but wonder where this smog has come from because Reno isn't as polluted as Los Angeles. However, the fact of the matter is that the wind has carried the pollution all the way from Los Angeles to Reno. At times, especially in winter, an excessive amount of pollution pushes the smog out of California and into a low-pressure system that makes its way to Reno, where it settles and makes the air heavier.

Although the distance is about 520 miles, pollution of that magnitude cannot be contained. It will spread out as far as it can go. Smog can cause serious health problems, including reducing a person's lung capacity. It causes respiratory problems, chronic poisoning, and palsy. Moreover, it can affect the skin and a person's general health by making people more susceptible to disease.

Selected Bibliography

"Brownsfields Cleanup and Redevelopment." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 17 September 2004. Weblink.

"Clean Air." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 22 April, 2003. Weblink.

"Tetrachloroethylene, CAS # 127-18-4." Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, September 1997. Weblink.

Reno, Nevada Pictures in the Gallery