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Author Topic: What is landscape?  (Read 10127 times)
Wim van Velzen
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« on: May 11, 2003, 01:54:03 PM »
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Hi Gordon,

Thanks for your kind words!

I don't know why there is so little discussion on the non-technical part of landscape photography. Maybe because it is far easier to talk about the 'facts of technique' then about the feelings and intentions of one's art - which is more personal.

I would love to see some more philosophical discussions though.

Thanks again, Wim
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Gordon J. Millar
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2003, 08:05:44 PM »
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This has prompted me to re-read Wim's essays, paying more attention to the relationship between the words and the images, and I agree whith your comments on this relationship. They help to demonstrate what he is talking about and bring out more feeling, but restrain things from getting too romanticized. "Ground in reality" is a good way to put it.

Ken Rockwell has an interesting series of photos in his "Road Trip 2002" gallery that are interesting to look at and not listen to. I wonder if Wim would like Ed's Camp?

I have not yet seen any of the picture only threads in photo.net, I would appreciate a pointer to them. I have looked at PhotoSIG before and I too ignore the critiques most of the time. I don't know why, I would just rather see it for myself, so to speak. I only look at critiques\comments when trying to figure out something technical.

Gord
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AWeil
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2003, 03:25:28 PM »
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I have a similar experience. Environments have a very strong effect on me, landscapes as well as man-made landscapes: cities, architecture, industry. In an attempt to record those effects and feelings, I take pictures. Sometimes, I'm disappointed by my results. They may very well be visually pleasing, but they do not reflect the feeling the environment invoked. This should not be surprising since those effects come from a wide range of impressions, the visual being only one of many. I call these pictures 'nice but cold'. They don't interest me much beyond having a kind of touristy record about 'how it looked like'. I have loved some images the most that did reflect feelings even though they might not have been the best visually. Yet, I could hear the silence, smell the misty rain in the forrest and so on just by looking at them. Is this so personal, that one could not transmit it to other viewers? Maybe. But looking for example at Wim's pictures, I get such a strong impression of the environments he is representing in his images, that I would love to experience some of it myself. That means, it is quite possible to use the material 'landscape', as David called it, to convey experience and feelings to others. Which is what photography (at least to me) is all about.
A.Weil
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Frank
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2003, 07:26:11 AM »
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Words and pictures have always worked together to complement each mutual meaning, its not a problem for me. I guess this is why we have five senses, so that the input can be synergistic. Pictures by themselves are sometimes meaningless, and lie, but are brought together by a few chosen words in a form of poetry. Thats my contribution. Enjoy your photography.
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Wim van Velzen
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2003, 01:09:51 PM »
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Hi all,

I wrote an article on a field we all like to work in: landscape.
I tried to address the questions: "what is landscape?" and "why do we make photographs of it?"

You can read it here:
What is landscape?

I hope you enjoy the reading - and comments are welcome!
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Gordon J. Millar
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2003, 01:44:12 PM »
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I have read both articles and I think they are very good, thank you for sharing them with us. But, I wonder why there is so much disscussion on equipment and so little on philosophy, motivation, passion, art, ect. This causes me to worry about the artist in all of us.
Gord
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2003, 05:04:24 PM »
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I don't know why there is so little discussion on the non-technical part of landscape photography
Maybe it's because pictures are a more appropriate language for conveying these concepts than words.
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2003, 04:47:42 PM »
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Thanks, Gord! (Insert blushing emoticon here.) And you're right, of course, about both words and pictures having a place in aesthetic discussions. That's just what Wim has done with his essays, and the presence of the pictures grounds the discourse in reality.

On photo.net somebody got the clever idea of starting threads in which no words are allowed - you only post pictures. A typical title might be "Beach scenes (no words)". As grotesque as little jpegs can be compared to a print, I still find it refreshing to look instead of listen, for a change. I also enjoy browsing through PhotoSIG, just looking at the pix and the captions but ignoring the critiques.
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Wim van Velzen
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2003, 12:44:15 AM »
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Hi Gord & Dale,

It is very good to hear my articles are inspirational for the photography and the thinking about photography!

You can find the no-words thread mainly at the photo.net Leica forum and some on the Large Format forum.

Where could I find Ed's Camp?
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Henrietta Hymen
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2003, 01:31:23 PM »
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Lansdscape photography is taking images of anything outdoors like trees or valleys, mountains.
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David Mantripp
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2003, 11:36:49 AM »
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What is landscape ?

Well to me, a photograph which is "just" landscape is to some extent a failure (please note - I'm talking about my response to my photography). I don't really consider myself competent to formulate a proper explanation but I'll try. For me the landscape is one of our raw materials. Another is light. When I'm trying to compose a photograph, I'm not thinking about recording an accurate document of what I see around me, I'm actually trying to create a composition of forms and alignments that records some impression or feeling. Possibly I'm trying to duplicate the impression that the landscape makes on me away from the viewfinder, but it could also be something completely different. So I would argue that I simply chose to photograph landscapes because I find good material there. And I enjoy being outside. I'm equally happy photographing architecture, but, again, I'm not recording the buildings, usually (unless I'm in "holiday snap" mode. It happens), but I'm using the shapes and forms I find.

Does that make sense ? Not a particularly insightful or original reply, I know.

Incidentally, Wim, your photography is wonderful. Every time I look at your web site I have to fight back the urge to buy a 6x6 camera..... Lord, keep the Mercedes Benz, but please buy me a 503cw :-)
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Gordon J. Millar
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2003, 08:34:25 PM »
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I am very new at this from a technical piont of view and an artistic point of view. But, I too attempt to capture more than just a record of where I am, to capture the feelings I have while I am there. I think this is what makes it art, at least for me. To create something that invokes feelings is why I continue my struggle. The work of someone like Wim, showing me that it is possible, encourages me on.  Like David, I'm not sure if this makes sense to anyone but me.
Gord
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2003, 12:09:20 PM »
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Quote
I'm not sure if this makes sense to anyone but me.
Gordon! Stop saying this -- you are making total sense! Trust your gut.

We had a similar conversation a few weeks back somewhere on this board. My thought is that when we see something (a landscape, etc.), we each have a different internal image of that place. Based on our perceptions, our past, our mood, etc. I feel that art is the attempt to somehow share this very personal internal vision.

I don't do much landscape work, but when I do, it's because the scene triggered something in my head: not just a "look at the pretty trees" but something more complex and intangible like "this feels like coming home after" or "this makes me feel lonely in that first day of school way". Etc.

When I get it right, others see something in my work, which is amazing. But what makes me laugh, is that they rarely see what I hoped they'd see. Something still resonates for them, but it is different. And THAT's what I love about doing this stuff!

Dan
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Gordon J. Millar
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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2003, 06:27:58 AM »
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Gordon! Stop saying this -- you are making total sense! Trust your gut.
Dan,

Thanks for the virtual slap in the face, I need that every once in a while. It's easy to loose focus and start to doubt ones self without some encouragement now and then.  Thanks again.

Gord
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Wim van Velzen
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2003, 02:36:38 AM »
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Me again,

For those who are interested: I wrote a follow-up to the 'What is landscape' article.

It is about approaches to the landscape.

Wim
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Gordon J. Millar
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2003, 03:18:58 PM »
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"Maybe it's because pictures are a more appropriate language for conveying these concepts than words."

While I do agree that pictures are an appropriate way to convey these concepts, I find some concepts like motivation and philosophy can be more fully explored in words, at least for me.  Reflecting on others words as well as thier images helps me to understand my own feelings and fascination towards art in general and photography in particular. I find writing difficult to do myself and agree with Wim that it is very personal, I applaude anyone who puts thier feelings into words for others to read.

BTW I enjoy your writing as well as your images Dale. They are both  inspiring and helpfull technically.  Without people like you and Wim I'd still be taking snapshots and tossing them in a box. I now at least think about the shots before shooting and reflect on them afterwards.

Gord
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AWeil
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« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2003, 06:38:32 PM »
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To the last poster: Do you mind? If you don't offer any meaningful posts - just don't waste your time and ours. These posts are not nearly as amusing as you might think they are. There are some, like the Wim, the photographer who started this thread, who are interested in an exchange - just as I am. I have seen these posts a couple of times now on this forum and I think you made your point.
A.Weil
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2003, 10:47:19 AM »
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One of the things I try to do when photographing landscape is to make a "visual vacation", an image that can for a few moments tranport the viewer to another place where they can relax and enjoy the beauty around them.
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