Accomplished photographer Joe Deal has died from bladder cancer at age 62.
Deal was best known as one of the photographers included in “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape” which was exhibited for the first time at the George Eastman House in 1975. New Topographic photographers forged the way for a different way of looking at our landscapes. Until then, landscape photography followed the Ansel Adams school – depicting pristine landscapes in exquisite lighting. Deal was more interested in showing man’s impact on the land. The building boom in the west was quickly reshaping raw land into suburbia, and Deal, along with Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Stephen Shore and Bernd and Hilla Becher, depicted this transition in a journalistic rather than a romantic manner. The effect was controversial, and not fully appreciated at the time.
Deal influenced generations of young photographers through his teaching at UC Riverside and his efforts to begin the photography department, his appointment as provost of Rhode Island School of Design, and Washington University, where he was dean.