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The Royal Landscape Photographer

The Duchess of Cambridge

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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The Duchess of Cambridge, or "Creative Kate" as the Daily Mail have patronisingly called her, turns out to be a landscape photographer and has been posting her pictures on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge website. Now the pictures may not be world class quality but they're pretty good for an amateur. What is a bit rich is the comments that have come from some of the press revealing certain attitudes to landscape photography.

Photo of tall tree above canopy_0

Harry Page, Fleet Street photographer says “It looks like the pictures have all been take in colour and then turned to black and white, meaning they lose a lot of impact.” - well duh, unless she’s using film then that’s a good guess and the idea that colour has intrinsically more impact than black and white is quite a statement - or should I say quite a WRONG statement.

The Guardian Picture Editor takes the prize for critical chutzpah though... “Using black and white is a cool thing to do; the images look a bit more serious than the average holiday snap, even if the content is no better.” well that’s opposite to what the Daily Mail says but that’s no surprise but heres the next good bit “But the thing that these pictures sorely lack are people. A landscape photograph has to be pretty exceptional (an Ansel Adams?) not to need the scale and interest a human figure gives.“ Oh dear... and finally... “the only pictures that really engage – among all those seascapes, old ruins and sunsets – are the ones with people, even if they are gurning at the camera and burnt red by too much holiday sun.” (source).

Photo of jungle clearing 1

I know he’s referring to ‘holiday photographs’ and that your average tourist landscape doesn’t have much merit but what if Kate intended to create something a little more interesting than that? And the idea that every landscape apart from those exceptional Ansel’esque ones will benefit from a person “to give scale” is laughable - Perhaps we should create some more interesting artworks by including the human in form in some classic landscape art.. perhaps this?


Original work copyright Andreas Gursky altered and posted under "fair use"

  • Jason Theaker

    Oh no, some very poor critiques, especially the people and scale rubbish! Some people really show themselves up by making such naive narrow minded comments! It’s sad really, that some people believe them. Anyway, having such a famous advocate for the landscape photography is surely a good thing. Oh by the way, the Gursky needed something to give it scale (o:

  • jeknepley

    I believe that Gursky, as captured, included pedestrians as well as buildings which were Photoshopped out. So your “altered” is really an “altered-altered”. ;-)

  • John Buckley

    Sounds like the Duchess may enjoy a complimentaty membership to spur her on! do you have a Royal patron yet?

  • Sam Jones

    Great wee piece, Tim. Typifies the British attitude to landscape photography and the narrow mindedness and lack of ambition of our wonderful media. Love the Gursky but I do feel that it would be enhanced with a shaggy dog.

    • Robin Sinton

      I showed the Gursky to a friend of mine who is an artist. His comment was that it could do with a tree or two. I told him that for $4.3m I would Photoshop a whole forest in to it, wherever he wanted them.

  • Richard Childs

    It seems to me that there is just more and more b**^@”$s spouted by so called critics on a day to day basis. They aren’t great photographs but they may yet prove to be a financial hit for the author once the media get their teeth in. I would love to see some sort of art work created by a critic to back up their own artistic credentials but very few, I fear, would know where to start with a camera/paintbrush/hammer and chisel etc. At least the Duchess is having a go and, perhaps with some guidance, will improve given time. She is certainly set to visit many amazing places in the coming years.

  • spodzone

    It’s taken me a while to spot the good bits, but: she likes trees and light and black&white. There’s worse mentalities out there.

  • Jeremy Moore

    The worrying thing is they probably criticise serious landscape photographers using the same criteria……still, at least he’s heard of Ansel adams!

  • James Mills

    Your Banksy take on Gursky made me smile.
    As for the journos, cheap shots at an easy target.

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