Of Metaphysics & Landscapes - Part 1

Blog - Phil-osophy on Landscape Photography > Of Metaphysics & Landscapes - Part 1
05/06/2014 - 12:24

We live in a world that has changed immensely over the last few thousand years as a result of our ‘progression’. The majority of us live in villages, towns and cities – yet many of us relish the opportunity to escape to the great outdoors, ‘to get away from it all’. This life we lead with all its creature comforts is somehow not enough on its own.



Time spent outdoors may range from such things as: a picnic or barbeque on the beach with friends and family  - to taking part in activities such as climbing, sailing, surfing or country walks.



‘Eventide’ – climber Jon Hawker sits atop the 300 million year old granites of the Cornubian Batholith at Bonehill Rocks on Dartmoor, as he gazes at the majestic afterglow light above his last bouldering climb.



In making such choices, we allow ourselves the opportunity of embracing the landscape and chance the delight and sensation of focusing on the beauty of wild flowers growing near moss covered rocks as we amble alongside a moorland stream. We can be astounded by the pleasant sounds of birds in the trees and hedgerows, when their songs speak of communication in their winged world of flight and fancy.



For adults and children, outings to the beach can open up a world of discovery with the sensation of sand under their feet and the sight of the sun shining on the sea.  A popular place where pebbles can be picked and tossed back into the salty water or near to where sea-creatures can be found in rock-pools. The sight of waves can be exciting and uplifting, as can a ride on a surfboard when a breaking wave is on its way.  It becomes a metaphysical journey if we allow ourselves the freedom and time to experience, understand and focus rather than let such things of significance pass us by.  These ideas beckon us toward the connection - be it emotional or visceral, with the wonders of the world beyond our own homes. The more we absorb through keen multi-sensory observation, the deeper we become immersed in such pleasures and because of these connections, we can experience a more enjoyable way of understanding our Earth in a rewarding and numinous way.



In my photography of the natural world, pastoral landscapes and the transitional rural fringes, I try to distil the essence of my visceral feelings into something that conveys my responses - the very thing that I want to ‘say’ about a place… a moment in time that has been captured.




‘Whisperings’ – late afterglow light mixes with the reflected skylight of building twilight, in a deep zawn at Hartland Quay in the North Devon A.O.N.B..




“If you listen quietly enough, life will whisper its secrets to you”

Rasheed Ogunlaru






Hopefully, Some of my images of the abstract forms of the natural world will pose some questions for the viewer. The rural- fringe photographs should provoke thoughts and ideas about our relationship to the land - whereas the ones of the wilder places are hopefully reminders of what we still have of our world. There are plenty of open spaces to drift into and enjoy the opportunities of finding new discoveries by embarking on further explorations of our vast and fascinating world…



‘Visceralis’  - a Scaly Male Fern sits atop a moss carpeted granite boulder beside the Aune on Dartmoor



"Man is not himself only...He is all that he sees; all that flows to him from a thousand sources...He is the land, the lift of its mountain lines, the reach of its valleys."


Mary Austin




(Part 2 of this trilogy is here)






* ‘Looking’ is turning one’s eyes to a certain object while ‘seeing’ is the perception of an object or how a person determines what they are looking at.

** Metaphsyics - the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time, and space









Jon Stein
09/06/2014 - 16:23
A thoughtful piece, and a timely reminder that we lose connection with the landscape to our peril! Thanks Phil for helping me look at, and feel, the world around us closer and deeper.
Tony Georhe
11/06/2014 - 02:34
As Thoreau said " It's not what you look at thats important. it's what you see." Your images allows those with minds open to embrace, even for a moment the freedom of personal metaphysical discovery. I find them images simultaneously electric and deeply calming.

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