on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

End Frame: No Smoke Without Fire by Joe Cornish

Adam Fortune chooses one of his favourite images

Adam Fortune

Adam Fortune

I am an enthusiast landscape photographer based in the South East of England. Wherever I travel, my camera comes with me on the off chance it makes it out of the bag. I love to explore familiar and unfamiliar locations and try to make photographs which tell the stories I see in the landscape.


It was Joe Cornish who wrote a series of articles for On Landscape in which he broadly divided his landscape photography into a number of categories, from the geographic landscape, through to the intimate landscape, all the way to the landscape of memory (see links to Joe's articles at the end of this end frame). “Ontological minestrone”, he called it (which did make me laugh), a “very rough” categorisation prompted by his work on a definition of landscape photography requested of him by a society. It was a fascinating series, headed with the thoroughly profound definition he proffered. Hinted at, but perhaps, not overtly explored, was the degree to which his categories were universal to all landscape photography and, to some extent, could overlap.

Against this background, No Smoke Without Fire is a thoroughly fascinating photograph (it featured in a joint exhibition,  Woodland Sanctuary Exhibition in July 2022), seeming to have nested within it several of Joe’s categories and concept of landscape and itself hinting at an extension to his definition, which is what it can tell us, photographer and audience, by appealing to our archetypes, about ourselves and how we might move through the world.

Aesthetically, it is an extremely pleasing photograph. There is a meta-design of two broadly interlocking and contrasting triangles, one of dark earth and one of light forest. Within that, there is a sub-design of triangles of tone, starting with a large dark one to the left, a lighter one to the right, then another darker one higher up on the left. Colours are within a limited and beautifully complimentary palette, and tones are well distributed and contrasted.

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