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Looking at most landscape photography publications (and that includes this one), you could easily assume that the genre is defined by overt beauty and the unlived wild. After all, this is how the vast majority of landscape photographers find their love of the genre as a form of escape or admiration of the landscape. But, like the black sheep of the family, there is a parallel genre of landscape which is almost *defined* by the lack of beauty and use of inhabited spaces.
You can probably blame the New Topographics for a lot of this, even now, nearly 50 years later. That exhibition provided a blueprint for much of ‘contemporary’ landscape photography for the following couple of decades and still exists as a knee-jerk template for many lazy students. The template model of overcast skies, ugly or brutal surroundings, and deadpan compositions are like kryptonite for the typical hobbyist landscape photographer though. And so, the two approaches to landscape photography provide two loci from which each photographer must choose.
It’s like there are three sliders: ‘beauty <-> neutral, ‘wild <-> lived’, and ‘instinctual <-> philosophical’, but historically, there were only a few combinations used (beauty/wild/instinctual or ugly/lived/philosophical).
Fortunately, many photographers have found the space in between the two worlds, the unobvious combinations of sliders, interesting enough that we can now discover many more projects to appreciate and to provide inspiration.
In this issue, I’ve reviewed a book which reminded me that there are lots of interesting photographers out there and that you don’t always have to want to create work like them to appreciate them and find them inspiring. I hope some of you can get as much out of exploring these different spaces as I have over the years, even if your love remains those wild, unlived spaces.
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Burkett masterfully arranges the colourful leaves and contrasting lines of the tree trunks and branches, evoking the harmony rather than the chaos that often exists in nature. more
Our 4x4 feature is a set of four mini landscape photography portfolios submitted by: Emilie Crittin, Gaby Zak, Robert Hecht & Sanjeev Kumar Yadav. more
I’ve talked previously about a schism in landscape photography between the ‘traditional’ and the ‘contemporary’. The difference between the search for the beautiful and wild and the pseudo-documentary ... more
Shanshui Hua (山水画) is an ancient (11th Century) style of traditional Chinese landscape painting that depicts natural scenes, including mountains, water & waterfalls. more
After VARIATIONS IN TREES, I was excited to explore a new subject. Strangely enough, my next project was right beside me the entire time, patiently waiting to be discovered. more
The series LS XII, shot in the Puna plateau between Argentina and Bolivia, came together as many things in life: a compromise. I use a 4x4 to travel around; while on a project more