Landscape is essentially about exploring the relationships between the maker, their subjects and where they are, both geographically and spiritually or psychologically. .. Whether celebrated for its beauty and the bounties it provides or respected for its power and the challenges it presents, the different ways we’ve presented the landscape – and continue to present it – tell us above all, about the depth, range and contrasting values we place upon it. .. For the vast majority of people working with photography, whether as a tourist or within professional practice, the camera provides an opportunity to record, if not an accurate representation of the scene before them, then an enhanced interpretation of it. This reflects an urge – perhaps even an instinct – to tame the land, and in an abstract sense to take ownership of it. (Jesse Alexander 2013 p22.)
“Photographs slice space into place; land is framed as landscape. Representation envelops reality; it becomes an act of colonisation. Photography contributes to characterising sites as particular types of places within the order of things.” (Wells, 2011, p.56)
“I am wary of picturesque pictures. I get satiated with looking at postcards in local newsagents and at the picture books that are on sale, many of which don’t bear any relation to my own experience of the place… The problem for me about these picturesque pictures, which proliferate all over the place, is that they are a very soft warm blanket of sentiment, which covers everybody’s idea about the countryside… It idealises the country in a very unreal way.”
Fay Godwin (1986) South Bank Show Produced and directed by Hilary Chadwick, London Weekend Television
This blog is part of my thinking through of my approach to landscape and landscape photography:
– how do I feel about and relate to my environment? how does photographic practice increase my awareness of the world around me? how do or should I react to the technological changes that are taking place in the ways people are affecting the environment? what is ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’? why?
– why photography? what do I want to say? do I want to portray beauty (form, colour, light, wind and being alive)? sublime (the awe of it all, darkness and light?)? in everything (including things destroying the planet?)? do I want to show human interaction with the environment and social documentary/activism? does photographing the world teach me something new through making me slow down and slice up then reconstruct?
– what is the best way to visually communicate my perceptions and feelings? through photography for different purposes: my professional work on development in Africa, Asia and Latin America and also my art practice and interest in post-modern/multicultural approaches to illustration and digital processes. How do I communicate emotions, feelings and messages in a 2D frame?
– what are the best ways of showing my work (when it is good enough) to change what I want to change? photographs in an exhibition? photobooks? web galleries? other?
The blog is based on my studies for ‘Landscape’ OCA Photography Course Level 2 by Jesse Alexander 2013. It complements:
Zemni Images – my photography, art and design website: http://www.zemniimages.com
other blogs and parallel work for an OCA degree in Visual Communication linked through: http://zemniimages.info.