Nearly 200 years after Meriwether Lewis and William Clark went west
to "describe the face of the country" for Thomas Jefferson,
Greg MacGregor (M.A., '73) retraced their
path and photographed what he saw -- not only the plants, animals and
people, but also the power lines, highways and convenience stores. His
black-and-white images have been published in "Lewis and Clark
Revisited: A Photographer's Trail" (University of Washington Press,
"For me, landscape has always been a theater," says MacGregor,
whose previous photography projects have taken him down both the Oregon
and Mormon trails.
Over the course of eight years, MacGregor left his home in Berkeley
to travel the trail in sections by car and boat, reading the journals
of Lewis and Clark along the way. "The more I read, the deeper
I got into these guys' heads, the more interesting the project became,"
Clark, who did most of the writing, could be counted on to give a "just-the-facts"
report while Lewis waxed more poetic, MacGregor says. Clark apparently
stuck to his straight-forward style even in the face of great danger.
Among MacGregor's images are the jagged rocks near St. Albans, Mo.,
where Clark described Lewis's narrow escape from death simply as: "Capt
Lewis … was near falling from a [Peninsula]. Saved himself by
the assistance of his knife."
A native of Wisconsin, MacGregor moved to Berkeley in the late 1960s
to work at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. After several years, he
realized his passion wasn't science and enrolled in the photography
program at SFSU. Under the guidance of influential instructors such
as Francis Coehlo, he began to focus his camera on "the way technology's
gone amuck in society, oddities in the American landscape" -- themes
which dominate his latest project.
MacGregor's photography exhibit, "Lewis and Clark Revisited: A
Trail in Modern Day," travels to the National Museum of Wildlife
Art in Jackson Hole, Wyo., July 31–Sept. 25, and the Fullerton