Processed Views interprets the industrial food production frontier: the seductive and alarming intersection of nature and technology. As we move further away from the sources of our food, we head into uncharted territory, replete with unintended consequences for both the environment and our health.

In our commentary on the landscape of processed foods, we reference the work of photographer Carleton Watkins (1829-1916). His sublime views framed the American West as a land of endless possibilities, and significantly influenced the creation of the first national parks. However, many of Watkins’ photographs were commissioned by the corporate interests of the day—the railroad, mining, lumber, and milling companies. His commissions served as both documentation of, and advertisement for, the American West. Watkins’ images upheld the popular 19th century view of Manifest Destiny—America’s bountiful land, inevitably, justifiably utilized and consumed by its (white, American) citizens.

We built these views to examine consumption, progress, and the changing landscape.

—Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman

Editors’ Note: Don’t miss the work of
all the other winners and finalists from the LensCulture Earth Awards 2015. In total, you’ll find 34 unique points of view inspired by the earth, nature and our shared surroundings. Beauty, destruction, wonder and hope—these are timely, important works that shouldn’t be missed!