on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Thomas Peck’s Critiques

Jodie Hulden & The Intimate Landscape

Thomas Peck

The real pleasure of photography is that it forces me to slow down and really look. That’s never easy in our rushed world, so a chance to stop, look and see is truly valuable.

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Living just next to Epping Forest I have always been fascinated by images of trees. They can be wonderfully expressive things. Not easy to photograph though. Too chaotic, seemingly random, difficult to isolate from surroundings. The mainstay of landscape photography, the vista, becomes incredibly hard when you enter amongst the trees. Which is perhaps why focusing on the near and excluding the far is a more advantageous approach. Instead of the magnificent or the dramatic, it is easier to celebrate the intimate. Such images by their very nature reveal themselves more slowly. They reward closer viewing and a patient approach. Making successful images in amongst the trees is the sign of a master photographer.

What does this actually mean? Let’s take this image: Rocks and Old Oak by Jodie Hulden as an example. The photographer has imposed a subtle form on the apparent jumble of the copse/wood/forest where she finds herself. Note the three trees – the dominant first tree in the foreground leans to the left, the next is separated and leans to the right, the third bends almost double as it recedes into the distance. The rocks at the base of the image echo this pattern. 



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  • Adam Pierzchala

    Interesting critique – and thanks for introducing Jodie Hulden’s work. I visited her website and came across the same subject, but framed in landscape format. I was struck by the very different feel to the image: whereas the one critiqued here seems quite restrained, almost melancholy, the other comes across with far more drama and, perhaps unexpectedly, more depth.
    Received wisdom is that vertical format images have more depth, but here the converse is true, at least for me. I believe it’s a function of the subject (tall trees vs. “lopped” trees but stretching across the width of the frame) and the fact that there is no vista to be seen.

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