on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

The Sublimity of Toxic Beauty

Terminal Mirage 2 2003, by David Maisel

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.


I’ve always been fascinated by how we react to abstract images, and how we seek to impose meaning on them. In a previous article, I noted how my own reaction to Marianthi Lainas’s images was to enjoy the intrigue created by the shapes and colours in the image and to use these as links or metaphors for ‘reality’. I imagined the beaches, trees, horizon lines that were suggested by the photograph. I had the same reaction recently when I came across David Maisel’s book ‘Black Maps. American Landscapes and the Apocalyptic Sublime’.

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