on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

One day ~ Time in landscape photography

A series of pictures made in the Massif Central, on the Cézallier plateau

Jean Discours

Jean is a photographer from the south of France. Whether he takes photos of the vineyards behind his house, of the mushrooms he comes across while strolling in the woods, or of a sunrise on Aubrac, in Cevennes, in Ardèche or in some northern country, it is the soft morning light he likes best of all, in winter or autumn it is the light filtering through the mist, it is this ambience that he looks for. He forgets then he has photo gear on his back, it is only when his eyes are saturated with the landscape that he takes out his camera to capture the instant.

Jean est un auteur photographe du sud de la France. Qu’il photographie les vignes derrière sa maison, les champignons rencontrés dans les bois, un lever de soleil en Aubrac, Cévennes, Ardèche, ou encore dans quelque pays nordique, c’est la lumière douce du matin, celle aussi de l’hiver ou de l’automne lorsqu’elle filtre à travers la brume, c’est cette lumière qui l’appelle. Elle lui fait oublier l’appareil photo rangé dans le sac et quand ses yeux sont rassasiés du paysage, il le sort pour garder une mémoire de l’instant.


The Cézallier which is sometimes said to look like Scotland or like the steppes of Mongolia is a land situated half-way between the mount of Sancy in the North and the mount of Cantal in the South, right in the middle of the Natural Regional Park of the Auvergne volcanoes. The glaciers have moulded those plateaux, all curves and mounts. This vast territory of granitic plateaux 1000 metres high is dominated by the Signal du Luguet, 1551 metres high.

My purpose is not to give a lecture on the question of time in photography but to share with you a few reflections on the subject.

Today we are urged to go fast. The social networks are catalogues of the instant. In past years, when a photographer went on a photo reportage in the desert or in the taïga, the tundra, the steppes, the savannahs or in any other faraway country, he was in search of beautiful images. The photographic journey over, there was a time for selecting the images and then a time for printing them before they could be shown. This time seems to be over. Today, pictures are often shown immediately on the digital platforms. The picture becomes a conversation, it is an element of language. This year, 70 billion photographs will be published on the Facebook network. Where is the place of the artistic photography in this area, what is its temporality?

This frantic race feeds our eye with 24 images in a second. Indeed, it is a race. To find oneself in the right place at the right moment. Plan the journey, look for the photographic spot, keep an eye on the weather report, are jobs a landscape photographer has to go through. I have been in this race but I am beginning to question this instantaneity and my experience as a landscape photographer opens on new perspectives. Can you tame time in landscape photography?

In fact, I had not approached this question until an early morning of winter 2017.

That morning provided me with over two hours of snap shooting interrupted by some instances of contemplation. As a result, a series of 15 photos taken in a silence only broken by the stir of a distant breeze.

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