on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

The Timeless Horizon

Sea Wall, Collioure by Jonathan Chritchley

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.


Photography and minimalism are ideally suited to one another. The act of making a photograph is all about framing the essential, removing the extraneous, and using the tools of the camera to focus the viewer’s gaze on to the subject. So, the photographer has a double intellectual challenge: to strip away and to concentrate the eye and the mind. Jonathan Chritchley’s image from the Languedoc in France (Sea Wall, Collioure) does exactly that, exquisitely.

What do we actually see here in this picture? Four elements: sea, sky, the breakwater and the horizon, all rendered in monochrome. The sea has been smoothed out and given a glowing sheen by the use of a Big Stopper, the sky is featureless and toned down towards the top of the image. The breakwater is slightly more complicated – the contrasty juxtaposition of the black and white stones and steps pulls the eye. Note too the subtle echo of the steps and the stepped back wall, one light, one dark, one sloping acutely, one more gradually. The horizon boldly bisects the image. That’s it. Simplicity itself. But what a satisfying and beautiful simplicity!

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