on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

An alternative view…

A look at what else is there

David Ward

T-shirt winning landscape photographer, one time carpenter, full-time workshop leader and occasional author who does all his own decorating.


I’ve just got back from a week in the Lofoten Islands in arctic Norway. Over the last twelve years or so this has become one of my favourite places to make photographs. It’s hard not to love the majestic mountain scenery, especially in a place like Reine where the peaks rise straight from the sea to tower over the houses and warehouses of a place once described as the “most beautiful harbour in the world”.

But, as always, my inclination is to look for things other than the grand vista to photograph, to search for things that speak to me more of what I personally consider the essence of this place. Typically these are things on a more human scale.

Kvalnes blowing snow 2048

Kvalnes blizzard

When I posted this image on Facebook a few days ago I received this comment from a fellow photographer:

Lovely, and quite possibly the most un-Lofoten image I've seen yet... if you know what I mean!

I took this as a great compliment but some might feel, at this point, that they had failed in their mission to bring back images of the Lofotens. If a viewer can’t recognise it as “there” then surely it’s not a very good photograph of “there”? That would be so if the sole purpose of the image were to illustrate a place. But if, instead, the photograph was made to illustrate a mood, or a kind of event, it is surely irrelevant whether the place is recognisable or not.

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