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Before Laura Gilpin (1891-1979),

Before Laura Gilpin (1891-1979), few women in the history of photography had so devoted themselves to chronicling the landscape. Other women had photographed the land, but none can be regarded as a landscape photographer with a sustained body of work documenting the physical terrain. Anne Brigman often photographed woodlands and coastal areas, but they were generally settings for her artfully placed subjects. Dorothea Lange’s landscapes were always conceived of as counterparts to her portraits of rural women.

At the same time that Gilpin’s interest in landscape work distinguished her from most other women photographers, her approach to landscape photography set her apart (set apart: 使显得突出,...显得与众不同) from men photographers who, like Gilpin, documented the western United States. Western American landscape photography grew out of a male tradition, pioneered by photographers attached to government and commercial survey teams that went west in the 1860’s and 1870’s. These explorer-photographers documented the West that their employers wanted to see: an exotic and majestic land shaped by awesome natural forces, unpopulated and ready for American settlement. The next generation of male photographers, represented by Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter, often worked with conservationist groups rather than government agencies or commercial companies, but they nonetheless preserved the “heroic” style and maintained the role of respectful outsider peering in with reverence at a fragile natural world.

For Gilpin, by contrast, the landscape was neither an empty vista awaiting human settlement nor a jewel-like scene resisting human intrusion, but a peopled landscape with a rich history and tradition of its own, an environment that shaped and molded the lives of its inhabitants. Her photographs of the Rio Grande, for example, consistently depict the river in terms of its significance to human culture: as a source of irrigation water, a source of food for livestock, and a provider of town sites. Also instructive is Gilpin’s general avoidance of extreme close-ups (a photograph or movie shot taken at close range) of her natural subjects: for her, emblematic details could never suggest the intricacies of the interrelationship between people and nature that made the landscape a compelling subject. While it is dangerous to draw conclusions about a “feminine” way of seeing from the work of one woman, it can nonetheless be argued that Gilpin’s unique approach to landscape photography was analogous to the work of many women writers who, far more than their male counterparts, described the landscape in terms of its potential to sustain human life.

Gilpin never spoke of herself as a photographer with a feminine perspective: she eschewed any discussion of gender as it related to her work and maintained little interest in interpretations that relied on the concept of a “woman’s eye.” Thus it is ironic that her photographic evocation of a historical landscape should so clearly present a distinctively feminine approach to landscape photography.

21. Which of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?

(A) Gilpin’s landscape photographs more accurately documented the Southwest than did the photographs of explorers and conservationists.

(B) Gilpin’s style of landscape photography substantially influenced the heroic style practiced by her male counterparts.

(C) The labeling of Gilpin’s style of landscape photography as feminine ignores important ties between it and the heroic style.

(D) Gilpin’s work exemplifies an arguably feminine style of landscape photography that contrasts with the style used by her male predecessors.(D)

(E) Gilpin’s style was strongly influenced by the work of women writers who described the landscape in terms of its relationship to people.

22. It can be inferred from the passage that the teams mentioned in line 19 were most interested in which of the following aspects of the land in the western United States?

(A) Its fragility in the face of increased human intrusion

(B) Its role in shaping the lives of indigenous peoples

(C) Its potential for sustaining future settlements

(D) Its importance as an environment for rare plants and animals(C)

(E) Its unusual vulnerability to extreme natural forces

23. The author of the passage claims that which of the following is the primary reason why Gilpin generally avoided extreme close-ups of natural subjects?

(A) Gilpin believed that pictures of natural details could not depict the interrelationship between the land and humans.

(B) Gilpin considered close-up photography to be too closely associated with her predecessors.

(C) Gilpin believed that all of her photographs should include people in them.

(D) Gilpin associated close-up techniques with photography used for commercial purposes.(A)

(E) Gilpin feared that pictures of small details would suggest an indifference to the fragility of the land as a whole.

24. The passage suggests that a photographer who practiced the heroic style would be most likely to emphasize which of the following in a photographic series focusing on the Rio Grande?

(A) Indigenous people and their ancient customs relating to the river

(B) The exploits of navigators and explorers

(C) Unpopulated, pristine parts of the river and its surroundings

(D) Existing commercial ventures that relied heavily on the river(C)

(E) The dams and other monumental engineering structures built on the river

25. It can be inferred from the passage that the first two generations of landscape photographers in the western United States had which of the following in common?

(A) They photographed the land as an entity that had little interaction with human culture.

(B) They advanced the philosophy that photographers should resist alliances with political or commercial groups.

(C) They were convinced that the pristine condition of the land needed to be preserved by government action.

(D) They photographed the land as a place ready for increased settlement.(A)

(E) They photographed only those locations where humans had settled.

26. Based on the description of her works in the passage, which of the following would most likely be a subject for a photograph taken by Gilpin?

(A) A vista of a canyon still untouched by human culture

(B) A portrait of a visitor to the West against a desert backdrop

(C) A view of historic Native American dwellings carved into the side of a natural cliff

(D) A picture of artifacts from the West being transported to the eastern United States for retail sale(C)

(E) An abstract pattern created by the shadows of clouds on the desert

27. The author of the passage mentions women writers in the third paragraph most likely in order to

(A) counter a widely held criticism of her argument

(B) bolster her argument that Gilpin’s style can be characterized as a feminine style

(C) suggest that Gilpin took some of her ideas for photographs from landscape descriptions by women writers

(D) clarify the interrelationship between human culture and the land that Gilpin was attempting to capture(B)

(E) offer an analogy between photographic close-ups and literary descriptions of small details

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