I suspect no landscape, vernacular or otherwise, can be comprehended unless we perceive it as an organization of space; unless we ask ourselves who owns or uses spaces, how they were created and how they change. J. B Jackson’ Concluding with Landscape’ Discovering the Vernacular Landscape (New Haven; Yale University Press, 1984 p150 quoted Bright 1985 p 1)
Attitudes towards social issues like renewable energy or housing policy are often polarised by ‘Not in My Back Yard’ ‘visual impact’ on the land according to rather idealised ‘picturesque’ notions of what the landscape used to/should look like. Photographers like Godwin and Darwell manipulate aesthetics of the image, beauty in texture, pattern and atmosphere to keep the viewer’s attention – then guide it to pose more challenging and shocking questions about the landscape and peoples’ relationship to it. The effort of extracting meaning in this way also makes the images more memorable.
The human figure has been used in landscape art and photography to highlight a range of interpretations:
- ownership and conquest: ‘prospect paintings’ symbolised of the landowner’s property or responsibility. Nineteenth-century Western landscape photographers often included themselves (or fellow member of the team) as a heroic figure, struggling in adverse circumstances to achieve remarkable imagery.
- add scale: design element to emphasise the vastness of the structures within the landscape.
- female nude within the landscape is a typical subject from 19th century to magazine photography today. Some photographers (eg Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham and Bill Brandt) have aligned the undulating topographic forms of the landscape to the curves of the female body.
In advertising, where the financial costs to the client are so considerable and the risk of a campaign backfiring so great, everything within the advert – from the minutiae of the photographic composition, the styling, the juxtaposition of strap lines, other texts and logos – is produced to a plan, designed to communicate a particular message to a specific demographic.