The Landscape of Experience: Photographing the National Park Tourist Open Access

Crissman, James Kelly (2015)

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Welcome to my honors thesis, my photographic exploration, and diary of experiences. I will try to understand concepts such as travel, nature, and experience through writing, photographing, and reflecting upon my own experiences. This is a thought experiment. Just as each experience is an experiment, my thoughts are an experimentation of understanding and criticizing the world of tourism. I have written each chapter within the context of my own story of exploration of national parks and photographing places. I focus on a particular road trip that I took with my Dad in the summer of 2014 that was the fuel for my research and photographic endeavors. Dad and I shared many experiences throughout the trip and I am now sharing them with you. This work is not finished. I will continue to experiment and add to my work as I reveal more about what it means to have a national park experience and I hope that my readers can continue to experiment and contribute as well. My words and photographs will be published on this website, a place where I can continually develop my experiment on experience, as well as have others contribute their own ideas and experiences. In other words, my thesis itself is a journey log of not only the encounter of national parks but of how we, including myself, understand and interpret lived experiences. For the full body of work with images included please visit the website at

Table of Contents

Method of Travel 1

Construct 7

Sacred 14

Landscape 22

Wilderness 33

Walking 42

Wanderlust 51

Distance 59

Grand Circle 67

About this Honors Thesis

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