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Author Topic: Traditional / contemporary landscapes  (Read 5142 times)

KMRennie

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Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« on: November 19, 2016, 04:43:55 PM »

In a recent photographic competition the judge described my image as "very traditional". This started me wondering about what a contemporary landscape shot at this location might look like. I don't usually bother about the label put on images, mine or others, but found the "very" unnecessary as it seemed to imply that it could have been a traditional image but that I had gone one stage beyond. The image won the competition, only a very small one, so why is this traditional? I am asking about what could have made it contemporary not how could it have done better in a competition.
My first reading of contemporary landscapes is that they are one of three types.
1. Imagined shots that could have started with a real landscape but have been altered to a state where it could be impossible to recognise the original location.
2. Urban landscapes.
3. Landscapes that show the impact of man.
With only these 3 definitions it would seem impossible for this location to produce anything other than a traditional landscapes without recourse to extreme tonemapping or colour changes. It could be that the judge couldn't find anything to say about the image and that the traditional commnt was just padding.
So any other definitions of contemporary landscapes or different ways of tackling this location that would produce a contemporary image?
Ken
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KMRennie

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2016, 05:28:39 PM »

Your comment is too elliptic for me Peter.
Ken
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Sharon VL

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2016, 06:41:04 PM »

I wouldn't assume that traditional was a criticism.

But maybe you didn't...

KMRennie

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2016, 07:37:08 PM »

Sharon I just find it unnecessary, but many judges comments are mere descriptions that the viewer can see for themselves. I just hope to get comments that may guide me as to whether what I set out to achieve had been successful.
Ken
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one iota

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2016, 02:38:25 AM »

Thank you for raising this subject Ken.

It has prompted many thoughts for me.

Unlike Peter I wouldn’t look to the “non traditional” (although and respectfully his is one path) but would rather start by studying the old Landscape painters to try and understand the elements that they have used for their works. That would get you closer to understanding what the Judge’s definition of “traditional” might be. It could be merely convention rather than tradition.

The word “very” is a superlative that really doesn’t have any value as there is no scale of measurement to work with. If I was a judge of your work I would be defining my terms.

So here it goes:

You have used three principal elements in the subject Landscape: Water, Rock and Trees. (This could be considered as traditional).
You have used “the rule of thirds” composition. (This could be regarded as traditional).
You have used a limited colour palette in a painterly way. (This could be regarded as traditional).
You have used a slow shutter speed to represent the movement of flowing water. (This could be regarded as traditional at least photographically)

So why is your image successful in the absence of the Judge's explicit definition of tradition?

Well for me it is that the leaves on the branch hanging down from above touch the rock in the middle of the stream being touched by the water: those three elements come together in the right place so may be it has something to do with sensibilities conveyed in the rich tradition of Japanese landscape art.

Well done you!
« Last Edit: November 20, 2016, 02:44:41 AM by one iota »
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Mahn England

graeme

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2016, 05:18:50 AM »

What were the judge's credentials?
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brianrybolt

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2016, 05:45:32 AM »

What were the judge's credentials?

'Consider the source'

I wouldn't worry about it - keep on photographing and enjoy the process.
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stamper

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2016, 05:48:58 AM »

It's possible to over analyze/think about a process?

KMRennie

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2016, 07:50:09 AM »

I agree about the source and the risk of over analysis. If it had just been a camera club monthly competition then I would have taken the win and ignored the comment after a little reflection. My thoughts when taking the picture would probably not change if I were to take it again.
How much of this scene do I want in? What lens to use?
What are the main elements?
Polariser?/ how much/ do I want to darken the water or leave it light.
Shutter speed how long to get the water effect in the pool versus the water effect in the small runs. I think that the 0.8s is about correct for the calmer stretches but slightly too long for the little runs. I did take another image at 1.3s but probably should have shot one at 0.1s
Apperture do I want everything in focus?
Where to focus on to get the desired front to back sharpness.
How far in will I place the tree ( I am still wondering whether I have left too much space behind it).
Can I get to a position that will contain the brightness of the little run at the bottom right so that the viewers eyes will not be drawn out of the picture?
Can I get to the desired spot without falling into the very cold burn?

However is there a non traditional way of analysing a scene? I am really just looking to see if their is another way to analyse a landscape. It may be that I would ignore it and continue on my path but exploring another path may improve my photographs or just leave me at the side of the burn pondering and missing the shot.
Ken
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brianrybolt

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2016, 09:59:06 AM »

Hi,

I think you're getting way to technical and cerebral about this.  Just about everything you mention can be understood if you go out there and experiment with different shutter speeds, aperture settings, iso, etc., etc.  Keep notes and then analyse what you've done and see what either works or comes close to what you have/had in your mind.  PREVISUALIZE before you start shooting!

Another suggestion which has been alluded to is to look at the books of your favourite photographers and painters.  Go to Galleries and see original work.

I wish you well.

Brian
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Rob C

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2016, 02:56:26 PM »

Perhaps the judge was only saying that the image, very attractive in itself is, nonetheless, simply part of a rather long tradition in photographic landscape.

Nothing new, just a very pleasing example of what it is.

Rob

KMRennie

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2016, 03:48:10 PM »

Thanks everyone for your replies. In the end I am happy with the image and it has turned out very close to how I felt about it at the time. Rather than pre-visualisation I prefer to go to a location and see what emotions it evokes in me rather than go with preconceived ideas especially as in this instance  I had never been to this location before. I did know that I would be dealing with backlit Autumn foliage and chose a time to promote this.
If I revisit a location I may pre-visualise how I wish an image to turn out but on many occasions this leads to disappointment
Producing images in the manner of various well known landscape photographers is not something I am interested in no matter how much I may admire their images but looking at how they may handle aspects of photography like luminosity in water or portraying movement in an image has made me question and sometimes change my practice. Knowing that their is another approach usually starts me experimenting. My present infatuation with moving water has taken 15 months of experimentation.
It would appear that contemporary landscape photography does not exist in this context UNLESS SOMEONE WANTS TO ENLIGHTEN ME and that the judges in this competition were just a little sloppy.
Ken
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stamper

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2016, 02:44:53 AM »

Judges have to say something to please the audience and maybe it was a slip of the tongue. I was in a club for six years and have listened to a lot of judges. It is a hard job to choose from a handful of outstanding images and an easy job to spot the not so outstanding images. All judges state that it is only their opinion when judging and others will differ from them. Sometimes they will have to nitpick some images in order to get a "winner". It was never a job that I fancied.

one iota

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2016, 03:54:22 AM »

I trained as an Architect in a studio environment. Our work was on display and there for critique casually and formally. That was an important part of our education. So a criticism accompanied with explicit rational was vital for us to learn about the discipline of self criticism and how we should sharpen our craft regardless of whether we agreed or not. To be sure there were judges who were there only to peddle their egos but the ones from whom we learned the most explained themselves as they dissected our work.

To me photography is the same stuff. Judges should be responsible for their opinions. Tough job!
« Last Edit: November 21, 2016, 04:00:44 AM by one iota »
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Mahn England

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2016, 12:25:20 PM »

To me, the label "contemporary landscape" reflects more on the technology than the subject. When I think contemporary landscape I think over sharpened, over saturated, over HDR'd, stitched panoramas.

So I'd take traditional as a complement.
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George

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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2016, 12:48:55 PM »

Judges have to say something to please the audience and maybe it was a slip of the tongue.
I suspect this is what happened.
I can imagine a judge starting to say "This image is very..." and then having trouble thinking of what he/she really wants to say about it, finally saying "traditional."

It's very nice. Don't over-analyze it!
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http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my photo website (Server is back up). New images each season. Also visit my new website: http://ericneedsakidney.org

hasselblad2017

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2017, 03:44:32 AM »

Ken.

I think your photograph is very good.
I would name it traditional if I had to choose between traditional or contemporary.

Forgive me if I am wrong this is my humble opinion:
traditional landscapes photograph could be a landscape of pure nature, clean , virgin, without any man made objects.

Contemporary landscape could be a landscape that have a modern building in it, or something else that is man made.

Remember in art all is what we think it it. We. Not others. Another words  my simple interpretation works for me. You should find yours.

Hope you enjoy my landscape:



GrahamBy

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2017, 09:35:53 AM »

Dear hasselblad,
I like your photo very much  :)
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Rob C

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2017, 10:02:07 AM »

Dear hasselblad,
I like your photo very much  :)


I didn't know it snowed in Hawaii. [ ;-) ]

Rob C

Sharon VL

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Re: Traditional / contemporary landscapes
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2017, 02:34:45 PM »


I didn't know it snowed in Hawaii. [ ;-) ]

Rob C

That's zinc oxide.
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