Sparks Theatre

It is a common misconception that photographs represent an unbiased record of the truth. On the contrary, images are constructed, staged to tell a particular story or to make a particular point. Even the most obvious landscape involves a set of decisions—including angle, aperture, and shutter speed—which affect the finished image and guide the viewer’s …

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The Secret Life of Lake Tahoe

Cave Rock, the majestic guardian of Lake Tahoe, presides with regal silence over a shadowy and mysterious realm, harboring a hidden world full of secret beings who live in and around the lake. Hordes of people flock to Tahoe’s shores, single-mindedly absorbed in their pursuit of the perfect vacation, so busy enjoying the many outdoor …

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Reading a Photograph: Notes on a Simple Portrait with Multiple Meanings

It has often been noted that photography is as much a literary art as it is visual. This is because of the photograph’s ability to stand in for any number of ideas, coming to represent things not a part of the original image itself. Take this carte de visite of a young boy, for example. …

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The Byways and Recesses of this Sublime Wilderness: John Muir in Nevada

It has been said by those who know it intimately that the Great Basin hides itself from view. Seen from the interstates and highways that lope restlessly across its surface, it appears as little more than a haphazard jumble of rocks, barren and uninteresting to passersby. Even John Muir felt overwhelmed by the emptiness he …

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Water in the Tahoe Basin

As Nevada and California face a dwindling snow pack and prepare for drought, we are reminded how crucial moisture is to the arid west. Access to water was fundamental to the settlement and development of the region, and Lake Tahoe’s abundance caught the eyes of the earliest Anglo settlers in the area, giving rise to …

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