The Art Of Landscape Photography

September 13, 2014  •  1 Comment

This post is the first in a series on the aesthetics and art of landscape photography. They will be my own views and opinions, so you may judge for yourself if they hold any merit.

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I am sitting atop an outcrop of Wichita Mountains granite. The Sun has set and I am waiting in twilight for a special event. The clouds from the morning's rain have dispersed giving us clear skies for the night to come. After a bit, the 'Belt Of Venus' appears, those sometimes illusive magenta bands of color created by the Earth's shadow opposite the setting Sun. The light is soft and dreamy but not spectacular. I make a few exposures and pack up for the trek back to camp. I have in mind an idea to push the boundaries of my art and turn this scene into a breath taking moment, moving the image into the realm of digital art yet still within the confines of landscape photography. This is where artistic license will come into play, the willingness to push the limits and create work beyond the ordinary.

 

"DREAMSCAPE"

I create my work to satisfy my own aesthetics and my own vision of landscape art. To me, the viewer other than myself is secondary and does not influence how I practice or present my craft. I am not ever tempted to follow the pack and create work that looks similar to others who practice this genre of photography. I have always strived to be unique within this group by not sacrificing my own sensibilities and emotional requirements. I create to please myself first and foremost.

Granted there is an element of pleasure involved when others also appreciate my art but it is not a requirement for me to continue creating. In some undefined way, artists are a bit selfish when it comes to their work. There is a possessive element involved that inhibits us from 'wanting' to share on the one hand, but on the other hand there resides the dominant secret desire within to be praised for our efforts. This I believe explains the phenomenal rise of social media and its ever increasing popularity. The simple desire to be recognized for one's worth and to share this worth with the viewer/reader.

There is another element though which is of paramount importance to me, and this is the single driving force behind what motivates me to sacrifice hours of sleep, endure long hikes and drives, and even longer evenings. That force is the simple act of being in Nature. This alone is what drives my passion, my art, and the desire to share with you.

There are times I am at a loss for words when it comes to telling others about my craft, my vision, or my art. It is an intangible that I cannot seem to ellucidate; to put into words what I felt at that moment in time, what element in the scene influenced my decision to compose the scene as I did, or whether or not there was a spiritual component involved beyond a simple description of my surroundings and what my physical senses told me. These are some of the topics I will attempt to discuss in future posts with this series though I may not always be successful in my attempts to do so.

 

"ELEGANT WARMTH"

And so I share these two images of landscapes that I consider examples of my art, though they are both at the extreme edge of my vision. The intensity of the colors alone should give you an idea of how I felt when I created them. The emotional context was obviously quite different for each of them and that is why I have shared two distinct color palettes. Each has it's own merits and each tells a different story both visually and emotionally. Each conveys a little of who I am as a photographic artist.

Until next time . . . TW


Comments

Shawn Hudson(non-registered)
Hello Thomas,

Thank you for sharing your musings and your imagery. It's always nice to 'get inside the head' of the artist and try to understand the motivational forces that compel them to create their particular art. Your writings remind me of an interview I once heard with the National Geographic explorer Sam Abell who,to paraphrase,stressed the importance of 'being in life'. That statement,I think,parallels the mindset of most nature and landscape photographers. In many cases I find that even the camera is secondary to the 'moment',an unwanted intrusion into the solitude of a silent lake or the cacophony of waves breaking on a shoreline. Reluctantly,perhaps for self gratification as you stated,I raise the camera and try to 'wow the audience'. Yet,for that brief period,the the scene,the light and the solitude is all mine.
Best Regards Thomas
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