How Porter Started Making Books The Dilemma with Glen Canyon The Artist Perspective
The Book The Other Side of the Argument Activities

The BookRedbud Tree, Detail, Hidden Passage, Glen Canyon, Utah, September 22, 1961  (P1990.51.5029.1)

Porter and Brower paired Porter’s photographs with writings from a variety of authors who wrote about nature and the uniqueness of Glen Canyon. Some were descriptive, some were poetic, and others were historical. Brower and the Sierra Club hoped The Place No One Knew would visually and emotionally move President Johnson, Congress, and other key people to decide not to complete the dam. Although these people greatly appreciated Porter's photographs, the project went forward. The floodgates on the Glen Canyon Dam closed in 1963. Over the course of several years, the waters of the Colorado filled the canyon to form Lake Powell. However, the The Place No One Knew helped halt the construction of dams in other western locations, including the Grand Canyon.

 
Rainbow Bridge, Glen Canyon, Utah, August 28, 1961 (P1990.51.5007.1)

Porter realized his photographs could be successful as individual works of art while also contributing to a cause. The Place No One Knew, therefore, became the first of many such books. His images of Glen Canyon started a passionate debate about how to balance environmental protection with human needs. His book projects that followed raised public awareness of human impact on the environment in places around the world. Some of these publications helped to make the Sierra Club an internationally respected environmental organization.

Roll your mouse over one of the books below to read excerpts from The Place No One Knew: Glen Canyon on the Colorado.

Composing a Subject Expression Through Color The Place No One Knew
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2002 Amon Carter Museum