Photography: Lovelorn Tracts, Minced Wilderness

Jousting with the landscape in Joel Sternfeld's America

A photographer may release pictures into the world for years. He may even win a bit of fame in the process. But it can take a survey show to make his full intentions clear. The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston last week opened a welcome exhibition that does just that for Joel Sternfeld, whose images of Americans contesting with their landscape began appearing in the late 1970s. The exhibit, which runs in Houston through June 7 and later moves on to Detroit and Baltimore, binds Sternfeld's work into a whole. Pictures that were once compelling oddities are now linked into...

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