on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

The Power of Transitions

Part II

Alister Benn

Alister Benn is a Scottish Landscape Photographer, writer and guide, who lives in Oslo, Norway. Each year he runs a limited number of small group workshops in Finland, Norway, Spain and Scotland focussing on the development of the unique vision of a small group of participants. His main interests lie in the expression of personal vision through engagement with the landscape.

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In the first part of this article (Click here to read it), I discussed the transitions of Luminosity and Contrast and how they work together to represent the fundamental realities of nature within our images. In my life and work, I’m very focussed on why things are the way they are; nature, science, beliefs, reality, perception. But, as I teach the art of creativity, I have to marry the why of it all with the how to do it, and with all great dichotomies, they can be jointly exhaustive or mutually exclusive. As I flow into the second stage of this article, I am truly aware of why I do these things, these hows. Without a Why there is very little need for a How!

The art of linguistic creativity relies heavily on tools of communication; words, punctuation, articulation, metaphor and nuance. Yet, in landscape photography, we are essentially mute in explicit language, leaving us with nothing more than luminosity, contrast, colour, texture and transitions. Armed only with this limited palette, we aim to express ourselves, desperate to communicate something, anything to another human being. “I was there, I saw this” are simple statements, being more articulate requires greater degrees of craft and intention. However, whether we are conscious of our statements, or they are byproducts of subconscious processing, there are impacts and consequences of everything within the frame.

At the very start of Part I, I used a few expressions that may have raised some eyebrows; what I call Attention Gradients and the Awareness Fulcrum. 

The decision of what shape of a stage to perform on is critical to your expressive intent. I believe there is too much randomness associated with cropping, and the first step is to become more consciously aware of its impact.
I’ve thought about this for over a year now, and it’s really a fundamental of how I put my work together, and currently, they represent the zenith of my thinking on transitions. In this article, we’ll look at how these expressions came about, and how we can use them with an intention to affect how images are read, essentially making our images say what we want them to. 



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