Riding along the switchback roads of the mountains of California, in the bay area of San Francisco, Mill Valley, Marin to be exact, I encountered a piece of property on the top of the mountain where a multi-million dollar house was being built by the owner whom is an engineer. The workers commented to me that this was an extremely difficult house to build. While I drove past many of the these properties in a completed stage, it was this one that was still being built on "prime" property, that caught my deeper conscious to ask "Why is man so fascinated with landscapes and views, that he will conquer any challenge to attain that view?"
Believing that I can't be the first person to ask this question, I tried searching on the web for someone else's view on this. While I found information, books and essays on landscape photography and landscape in art I realized that my question was much more universal. Yes, we say there is a spiritual element in Chinese landscapes, a connection to nature in paintings and photography, a controllng power element for military-- the forts and castles, the highly appraised market value for real estate, but why? Why is man so drawn to this?
Why do we pay top dollar for the land? Why do we battle to climb, hike, engineer, conquer and own just for a "view". Why do I struggle to conquer the challenge of capturing the time and space of a view in painting and photography? These are not just serparate questions, but one big complex question.
I have been a landscape painter and photographer for 40 years. Past 10 years I have been unable to physically engage in this challenge do to an injury. Finally starting to recover and begin the challenges of travel, hiking and capturing nature, I am now beginning to ask this universal question. I realize it is not just me and my preferences in life of what I like, but rather something that almost all of mankind shares.
Anyone who would like to join me on on a journey to understand man's fascination with landscapes and the challenge to conquer them (physically, artisically, militarilly, and financially - did I leave something out?), I'd be happy to hear your point of view. Please feel free to provide links to books, blogs, videos etc. Maybe someone has already come up with a really good answer, and I just haven't heard it.