Into the Landscape

04/01/2016 - 16:59



Time spent in the landscapes beyond our urbanian dwellings can be such an enriching and rewarding experience, much as I enjoy photography, for me there is more to making photographs than pointing the camera at something pretty and clicking the button.




Light, the wonderful invisible waves of energy that give colour, depth, form and texture to our world. Learning to interpret the way zillions of photons react with myriad surfaces to produce an image - is something that most of us, with the gift of sight,take for granted. We commonly talk of ‘looking’ at things and for many situations in life simple glances are sufficient to give us us basic information about the world around us.






Learning to ‘see’, however, is something deeper. A mindful approach to observing our surroundings can lead to a rich experience, one in which we may feel more connected to a time and place. If we so choose to engage our senses richly in such moments, we have the potential to produce a response that resonates with emotive or visceraldepth. To make expressive photographs, that have that extra resonance above the merely 'technically perfect' image, we need to explore, study the elements of the 'inner landscape' and the grand vistas to seek the essence of what it is that captures ourinterest about what lies before us. We can then make images 'about' rather than just 'of' what it is that has captured our attention.






Techniques learnt in using a camera or a paint brush are merely the fundamental steps in using tools with which to help us construct our interpretations of what we observe. To create an image with gravitas, we must learn to understand the way that light interacts with the earth and sky: how it varies with time; the effects of weather; it’s angle to the view in front of you; which type of light suits which subject. We then have the challenge of making implied depth and journey in a 2-D picture, using leading lines, curves, arcs, triangular relationships, an awareness of visual mass, metaphorical ‘punctuation marks’, etc.



In my landscape photography workshops, my aim is to facilitate the progress of my particpants in their own journeys of translating their vision to visualization (exploring the way light and shadows interact with the land around them - to imagining how they can interpret such physical things and blend their own expressive thoughts into a percieved image. Technique and experimentation make the percieved image in the mind become tangible.





The viewfinder allows us to frame the part of the world, at that moment, that we wish to celebrate - yet we can leave some sense of mystery and / or interest for the viewer to contemplate, including such things as juxtapositions, motion, duration of time, or transition zones - which may add a narrative element. It becomes then, hopefully, a photograph about something, rather than just of something and that is surely worth working towards.






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