Many have asked, pointing incredulously toward a sweep of tract homes and billboards, why picture that? The question sounds simple, but it implies a difficult issue—why open our eyes anywhere but in undamaged places like national parks?
One reason is, of course, that we do not live in parks, that we need to improve things at home, and that to do it we have to see the facts without blinking … Paradoxically, however, we also need to see the whole geography, natural and man-made, to experience a peace; all land, no matter what has happened to it, has over it a grace, an absolutely persistent beauty."
— Robert Adams, 1974. He was speaking about photography but I think it applies pretty well to all forms of bearing witness.