Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Ulrich Kamp

Commitee Members

Rick Graetz, Thomas Sullivan, William Wyckoff


Crown of the Continent, Environmental Perceptions, Montana Geography, Photographic Interpretation, Repeat Photography


University of Montana


Photography can be an invaluable tool in human geographical research, for example, to better understand the importance of place to people. Increasingly, geographers are looking at how photography can play an active role in the construction of geographical knowledge, that is, how photographs are seen rather than what they show. This study examines the use of repeat photography as a research method by conducting a case study on landscape change in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem. Grounded in extensive archival research on the past, present, and future uses of photography as a research method, a repeat photography survey was conducted in order to interpret natural and cultural landscape changes over time. The study involves three sets of photographs ranging from 1870 to 2010. However, this study is not just about documenting change, it is about analyzing perceptions of wilderness through photography. The original photographs in the study were taken during the earliest days of photography, a period in which the US Congress sent photographers out to record the West. Followed by a time when forestry and conservation started taking on new meanings with the policies of the first United States Forest Service Chief, Gifford Pinchot. This study investigates the role of photography in shaping the landscape of the West by taking a contemporary look at the study area through the repeat photographic survey conducted.



© Copyright 2011 Dusty Leigh Waltner