on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Thomas Peck’s Critiques

Colin Westgate & Luck in the 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.


Island in the Mist, Iceland.

I remember when I was a kid being dragged around the art galleries of Europe by my parents. The national galleries, with room after room of Old Masters through to the Impressionists, were uncontentious. That changed when we got to a Modern Art gallery. Faced with minimalist, abstract, difficult Art, everything suddenly was contentious! One parent loved it, the other hated it. Raging debate ensued and we kids would, of course, join in…

Many still react to minimalist Art with the same confusion or even irritation – it seems so pretentious – but, I suspect, quite the opposite is true of minimalist photography. Whereas the abstraction needed to create a minimalist painting can often lose the viewer (it can be very difficult to tap into the artist’s thought processes), a minimalist photograph is still rooted in reality. The image is of something identifiable. Admittedly it’s pared down, isolated, simplified, but it’s still something real. A hook for the viewer to hang interpretation on. That link to reality is important – it settles the eye and the mind. The viewer can relax – s/he understands what the image is of. Pictorial enjoyment ensues.  

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