The state of Landscape photography can have you scratching your head. Or it could be just me, that’s happened before! Thinking about this really came to a boil on a recent trip to Scotland to spend 10 days with a well know Scottish landscape photographer. His notion is that the web has driven the trend to be oversaturated cliches and a one-upmanship progression of photos leading to I’ll see your Grand Canyon photo and add the Milky Way with lightning for good measure and the contest is on. It’s a game that you can’t really win and quickly becomes unsatisfying. The icing on the cake came when I showed someone a recent photo that I liked and their response was, that’s nice but it just doesn’t make me say , whoa! How did we get to the place where a photo has to stop you in your tracks to be considered as worthy? Where a nicely composed and well processed photos that conveyed a simple message, doesn’t cut it anymore. I’m sure you could post a Ansel Adams image on Facebook and it might not garner any notice. That’s really a shame. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still put myself in place to shoot those classic, quality, large scene landscapes but there are even more good photos out there that we don't always notice because we maybe aren't looking. Little slices of the landscape that may catch our eye a bit but don't get our real focus or attention. This is my idea of a nice one. There were lots of them this morning, many that I probably missed. It's a lovely scene, foggy, moody, some contrast close to you and the detail diminishes as your eye move across. Has a sense of depth which I enjoy trying to achieve. It's pleasant, slightly mysterious and I think a nice photo. Just my notion but we don't always have to have our socks blown off. A mood, emotion, sad or reminiscent, a memory, a brief moment of wanting or wishing, joy, sadness, awareness, just a unique moment in time is often all that a photo needs to convey.
So what's my real point? Just that we need to really enjoy what we are doing, first and foremost. If going after likes on facebook or elsewhere with those big over saturated sunsets are your thing, go for it! I have a hard time imagining an artist that thinks first of what his audience wants to see, real creativity needs to come from within, I'm enjoying discovering photos in places where I've been many times before, because now I'm looking for angles, geometry, luminosity, contrasts, transitions, repetitive shapes, depth, moods, emotions and on and on, things I just didn't take the time to explore previously. I know there's lots of expressive photos there that I've been walking past.
I've slowly grown to like the smaller scenes. Not that I wouldn't take the classic landscape photo if was there but, being "there" isn't usually the goal these days. Some of it is a reaction to the images one usually sees on he web, sort of cliche, color driven, often not a noticeable composition it seems to be meant to make you say whoa, and make you salivate and click and move on to the next whatever. Of course, everyone is different, everyone is drawn to different things (thankfully}. but for me an image should make you want to linger a little, let you think there maybe something else here, help you feel or think or wonder a little bit and maybe not look away so fast. But that's just me. One person's art may not even be a pebble on the sidewalk for the next guy.