Oregon Images and Prints
Oregon’s acclaimed diversity is attributable to the fact that any state–but especially Oregon– is less a naturally defined reality than an administrative unit or historical accident. Only on Oregon’s western boundary, where land ends and ocean begins, does the state’s border mark the divide between distinct realms. On the north and northeast where the state’s boundaries also coincide with natural features, neither of these features–neither the Columbia River nor the Snake River--divide lands that differ in the slightest in weather, geology, flora, fauna, culture, or economy. Elsewhere, where Oregon is marked off arbitrarily only by lines of longitude or latitude from neighboring states, differences similarly don’t exist–certainly not between adjacent parts of Oregon and California, Oregon and Nevada, Oregon and Idaho, or Oregon and Washington.
However, within this administrative fiction, within Oregon’s borders, the diversity and abrupt divisions are bewildering to anyone who thinks that a named place must exhibit a defined theme. Rainforest in the west? Desert in the east? Sea stacks? Basin and range? Arid canyons? Glaciated mountains? Flat plains stretching away to the horizon? Rolling grasslands? High lava plateaus? Desert Playas? Great rivers? What holds this diverse collection of realms together is not a coherent ecological concept but a fiction created for administrative and now marketing purposes. To say that diversity is Oregon’s theme is to acknowledge that “Oregon” doesn’t exist except in peoples’ minds.
Still, it can’t be denied that Oregon does exist in peoples’ minds, even if arguably it doesn’t exist in reality. If this mental “Oregon” is now a real basis for collecting taxes, counting votes, and selling products, I suppose it can also be used to classify collections of photos. In this website, my photos of Oregon are further classified according to the following categories (also somewhat bogus, but that is another story):