on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Perfection or Excellence?

Chasing the Impossible

Matt Lethbridge

I have been making landscape photographs for around 8 years now and I am very passionate about what I do.I really enjoy the creative challenges brought on by working with natural light, especially in variable weather conditions. I have just started to dip my toe in the water with 35mm film photography and I an looking forward to the many challenges ahead.Flickr


Landscape photography tends to be a solitary pursuit for many of us, myself included. We enjoy being out on the hills or down in the woodland valleys, maybe at the coast with just the whistle of the wind, the sound of the tide lapping the shore or maybe the dawn chorus to keep us company, but when we do meet up with like-minded souls, occasionally something in the ensuing conversation sparks an idea, one that makes you examine not only your photography but that of others too.

This happened to me at the beginning of the year when I happened to call in on On Landscape’s proprietors, Tim and Charlotte. Initially, I called in to talk to Tim about Large Format photography, lens choice, film stocks and metering, amongst other things. As we drank coffee in the kitchen I could not take my eyes off of a beautiful large framed print Tim had on the wall. Entitled "Red Leaves" it was to me about as perfect an image as I've seen anywhere. When I stood up and approached the picture Tim pointed out one or two little imperfections caused by the various difficulties with large format, small depth of field requiring a large amount of swing amongst others. Now I had been studying the picture for quite some time and had not noticed these little imperfections, they had to be pointed out to me. I just continued to enjoy the picture and thought no more about it. 

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  • Andrew Herbert

    Cracking article Matt

  • Matt, the two photos in this article are stunning… wow… I enjoyed reading this, and it is something that I had to address too… My work gets more messy in many respects, less anal… Letting go expectations and the reality of the image is so important to me… Now I try to let go the moment I click the shutter… and hope to be surprised by them when I look at them latter… often years latter… so I can fully let go of my emotions and expectations when I take them… This is a lovely reminder… Hey, isn’t Tim’s photo a cracker… I stood in front of it too when I visited.. and had to keep coming back to it.. Cheers

    • To be clear… the two monochromes, are just pulling at my heart… stunning

      • Thanks very much Len, really appreciated. I found that I was constantly getting rather depressed with my work, I was seeing so many imperfections, some real, some not so. After talking to Tim about his image it really brought home to me how others see their own work and I realised that it is the image as a whole that appeals and more importantly how that picture makes one feel. ( Yes, that image of Tims in a large print is totally divine……………)

  • David Higgs

    I embrace imperfection and prefer to leave details to the imagination, love those monochrome images

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