robert harding pittman


During the course of my life, I have seen more and more land bulldozed away for development. Nature has always been a great source of inspiration and solace for me, and seeing its continuing destruction saddens me. My photography and film work combines art, documentary,and activism, with the aim of raising awareness to try to help protect our Earth, its lands, and its cultures.

My photographic book (Kehrer Verlag) and traveling xhibition ANONYMIZATION is about the global proliferation of urban sprawl, with its cookie-cutter, master-planned communities, golf courses, shopping malls, and jammed freeways, not just in the United States but also the rest of the world. These anonymous developments are built without any regard for the local culture, environment, or climate. This indifference is exemplified by planting grass golf courses in the desert.

The project began when I moved to Los Angeles to study at Cal Arts, where I fell in love with the desert. I became disturbed to see it disappearing so rapidly for the purpose of massive developments. When I found the same type of soulless, uniform architecture in many other countries, I came to the idea of making a global book, which has tracked the movement from construction boom to crisis for more than a decade.

The message I want to convey is that by insisting on this way of building and living in disharmony with the Earth, we are destroying not only the environment, but also our cultures, and ultimately ourselves. We are cutting off our roots that connect us to the planet.

(With photographs from USA, Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Dubai, South Korea.)

“These images… remind us… of how much we long for real places, real texture, real homes, real communities. In many cases they’re the face of the housing bust—but also some much deeper bust, in the way we’ve been thinking (or not) about the world.”

—William McKibben, environmentalist, author, and journalist