on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

End frame: On the Nature of Things 2012 by Dr Les Walkling

Jim Love chooses one of his favourite images

Jim Love Sq

Jim Love

Jim Love lives in Melbourne, Australia and has been actively photographing since retiring from anaesthetic practice. Initially drawn to photographing sublime landscapes without traces of man, the challenges of incorporating elements of autobiography and metaphor into his image making have been both motivating and satisfying.

Robert Adams, in his 1996 essay “Truth in Landscape”, opined that “landscape pictures can offer us three verities - geography, autobiography, and metaphor.” I find this is a useful framework through which to consider why an image remains in my thoughts.

A photograph in which an artist succeeds in posing a question is uncommon. An image in which the viewer is left pondering a moral response to the posed quandary is memorable. The skill required to pose a question rather than to just present one side of an argument is considerable. The easier option of presenting a single side of complex questions runs the risk of veering towards propaganda.

Such a memorable image, for me, has been " On the nature of things 2012” by Dr Les Walkling. This image has stayed with me since I encountered it seven years ago. It does not surprise me that it has been used commercially as an example of photographic excellence.

This composition visually illustrates the choices for the viewer of the uses and values of forests. The intact forest on the right hand side is separated by the disused rail line from the logged trees on the left. Between is a crossing leading to a locked gate. In the background, there is a built environment on a dead end road. There are no elements of awe inspiring beauty, so the viewer is left to ponder why this combination is being presented for their consideration.

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