Inside this issue
Looking for Landscape Photography
I was recently asked to come up with a definition of landscape photography by a learned society, a remarkable turn of events for someone with almost no academic qualifications. This proved both a fascinating and near impossible endeavour.
Only very slightly altered, this is my final text in question:
"The word, landscape, is more than territory, land, ground, or property. Landscape is also a concept, a view, a prospect, a perspective. Its association with art is indivisible having its origins as a word from Middle Dutch, circa 1600, related to painting.
Landscape is widely considered to be the most popular theme in all photography. Although the limits of the genre subject matter are debated, there can be no doubt that definitions of landscape in photography are broad. They include grand vistas of mountain and sea which may encompass hundreds of square miles, to small natural details of just a few square centimetres. Landscape can be about the iconic, the sublime, the geographic; it can be about habitat, about the environment, about landscapes altered by industry, dereliction, contamination, the aftermath of natural catastrophes, war, urban sprawl. Landscape can illustrate agricultural practice, pastoral beauty, intimate details from nature… from the poles to the equator, and from below sea level to the mountain tops, the list of landscape possibilities seems almost endless.
While it is difficult to define all the possible strands of landscape photography, perhaps a common definition might stand around emphasis…so although people, animals and inanimate objects may be present in the pictures, any players in the scene are subordinate to the landscape itself as seen through the eye of the camera.