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Author Topic: Eric Meola article  (Read 36453 times)

Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #40 on: January 18, 2013, 10:57:12 AM »

I'd say that for me, the completely natural elements in a landscape, that is, those elements in the scene that have not been created by man, are the elements that tend evoke the emotional essence of that place, if it is defined as a landscape.

Which elements not created by man would, for you, evoke the emotional essence of farmed land?
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Rob C

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #41 on: January 18, 2013, 02:12:41 PM »

That would be a welcome change from schoolboy innuendo.



I was a wonderful schoolboy; always wore my blazer correctly, my tie in place (if with a Windsor) and now you arise from the depths, kraken-like, to cast aspersions.

Woe is me!

Rob C

Ray

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #42 on: January 18, 2013, 07:01:02 PM »

Which elements not created by man would, for you, evoke the emotional essence of farmed land?

The trees in the gullies around the borders of fields, and the grass and wild flowers, and the animals such as cows or horses gathering in small groups under the shade of a tree, or drinking from the stream which flows across the farmland, and the flocks of birds sometimes taking their share of whatever crop is in season.

The soft shape of the undulating hills which can be very relaxing on the eyes and the mind, and the yellow blaze of Canola or Rapeseed in full bloom etc etc.

However, I think I can anticipate your response. You will probably claim that it was man who cleared the foreststs to reveal the undulating hills, and it was man who planted the Rapeseed which is so spectacular when in full bloom.

That is true, but I would claim there is a clear distinction to be made between clearing and planting, and creating. Those soft and pleasant undulations and shapes were likely not created by heavy earth-movers and bulldozers, and the Rapeseed plant, whilst possibly genetically modified, is a natural plant which has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, if not millions.
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wolfnowl

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #43 on: January 19, 2013, 01:22:44 AM »

A new blog post from William Neill (still hanging out on the forums here?)  Several of the images put me in mind of Eric's article.

http://www.williamneill.com/blog/index.php/2013/01/my-favorite-images-from-2012-2/

Mike.
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HSway

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #44 on: January 19, 2013, 09:57:35 AM »


Australia’s Original Landscape Gardeners


Great link and a very enjoyable read. Thanks for posting it.

Aborigines and ancient populations all over the world excelled at what they were doing in a similar way we excel at our stuff today. It’s just hard to imagine it and hard to see all aspects of it, quite naturally.
They were using the landscape to interact in the broadest sense, adapting it with ways of their lives maintained, responsive to changeability of the environment, short or (very) long term.
I think it's safe to say that in practice there was a varying degree of this influence alone with suitability for it. But the wilderness and people interacted actively where the conditions were right. I presume the wilderness that way, containing these man brought-in elements, had to be even better, if that makes sense :) (and on a somewhat idealistic note). Some rather vast areas in Tasmania I have been to, e.g., Dempster Plains in Tarkine Forest, feature landscapes strongly influenced by this character of land keeping and are actually protected for its unique environment (species composition) because of it as a reserve.

Hynek
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Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2013, 12:58:46 PM »

You will probably claim that it was man who cleared the forests to reveal the undulating hills, and it was man who planted the Rapeseed which is so spectacular when in full bloom.

In short, the emotional essence of farmed land has everything to do with it being farmed.


That is true, but I would claim there is a clear distinction to be made between clearing and planting, and creating. Those soft and pleasant undulations and shapes were likely not created by heavy earth-movers and bulldozers, and the Rapeseed plant, whilst possibly genetically modified, is a natural plant which has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, if not millions.

In that vein, the seven hills of Rome were not created by heavy earth-movers and bulldozers, and building stone is a natural material transformed over millions of years. (And once you include GM Rapeseed, you also include Roman concrete.)
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Ray

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #46 on: January 19, 2013, 07:39:48 PM »

In short, the emotional essence of farmed land has everything to do with it being farmed.

For you, maybe, but not for me. The essence of anything and everything we see lies within our own minds. That which exists externally can evoke a certain emotional and thoughtful response as the reflected light from the external objects passes through our eyes. However, such a response, whatever it is, does not exist as an objective, external reality, like an apple on a tree that can be plucked by anyone, whatever his opinion.

It is my view that farming tends to destroy what I find beautiful about landscapes. Stripping the land of all its trees, and depleting the soil of most of its carbon content through continual tilling, and removal of mulch and crop residue, reduces biodiversity and contributes significantly to the effects of flooding during periods of heavy rainfall.

If anyone reading this is seriously worried about the effects of human-induced climate change, you might like to know that the problem could be fixed by changing our agricultural practices so that more carbon would be sequestered in our soils resulting in more fertile soils with greater biodiversity, including worms and bacteria which are necessary to break down the nutrients to a form that the plants can use.

I've heard reports, from those who have studied the issue, that the relatively infertile soils of Australia alone, could contain or sequester all the carbon emitted world-wide from power stations and industrial processes, if a deliberate effort were made to enrich our soils by increasing their carbon content.

In short, if I were to experience the emotional essence of a landscape of farmland as being everything to do with it being farmed, it's very likely that I would not like such a landscape and would not hang it on my wall, although I would admit that the photograph could still fit into the very broad genre of landscape.

When I go out with my camera with the intention of capturing some landscape shots, I try to stay clear of farmland, preferring natural wilderness, rainforests and mountainous areas which are not suitable for farming.

There are always exceptions of course. For example, a field of Canola in full bloom, perhaps surrounded by a few trees or shrubs, and a few taller trees in the background, can be quite eye-catching and make an interesting landscape photo. However, I'm not aware that the appearance of the plant and flower is significantly changed as a result of genetic modification, and the fact that the Canola has been planted by a farmer does not mean that the essence of the landscape has to do with it being farmed.

You must surely know that many plants and trees in their natural environment are growing at their precise location because a bird or animal planted the seed there.

When you see a Brazil Nut tree, impressive with its towering height of 50 metres, do you descibe its essence in terms of the farmer who planted it, or the squirrel or rodent which carried the seed to a particular location in the forest, if that's the tree's location?

C'mon! Be sensible, Isaac!  ;D


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Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #47 on: January 20, 2013, 12:45:56 AM »

In short, if I were to experience the emotional essence of a landscape of farmland as being everything to do with it being farmed, it's very likely that I would not like such a landscape and would not hang it on my wall, although I would admit that the photograph could still fit into the very broad genre of landscape.

Well that's the point -- not very natural, pastoral landscapes are landscapes; and originally were all there was to the genre of landscape.
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Ray

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #48 on: January 20, 2013, 05:27:25 AM »

Well that's the point -- not very natural, pastoral landscapes are landscapes; and originally were all there was to the genre of landscape.

Ah! So that's what you are talking about, the Pastoral Landscape, or Bucolic; that excessively romantic depiction of the arduous and uncomfortable rural lifestyle, for the benefit of city audiences who know no better. Why didn't you say so before?  ;D

If we separate the Landscape genre into 3 subgenres, Pastoral, Picturesque and Sublime, I would say I'm more interested in the Picturesque and the Sublime which are for me the true landscapes. The pastoral I associate with idealised and politicised 18th and 19th century paintings which often attempted to celebrate man's dominion and control over nature. I'm more interested in truth and realism.
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dreed

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #49 on: January 20, 2013, 06:31:58 AM »

Bullshit! Landscape is a completely natural environment as opposed to the totally artificial, congested and bustling environment of the city.

Really?

And what about landscaped gardens?
If I went to Hyde Park, London or Central Park, NYC, would a photograph of that park taken inside the park fit your definition of landscape given that both are work of men and not nature?

What about the fields of farmers?

Or man made lakes, damns, rivers, hills, etc?

Is street photography a subset of landscape photography?
If not, where and what is the overlap between the two, if there is one?
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Rob C

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #50 on: January 20, 2013, 07:00:16 AM »

Hi dreed,

In my opinion, anything shot with the intention of ‘landscape’ in manufactured places such as stately homes, public gardens etc. is absolutely excluded from any valid definition of the landscape genre.

Landscape, at best, is just a copy of nature from the most favourable vantage point that the snapper can find or perhaps access; he has added nothing of his own other than the angle of view, which is hardy creative but certainly a good use of judgement. To do that within a context where an architect (of sorts) has already arranged everything to its best advantage is but a joke, a hollow play on creativity and just a happy snap, however technically perfect that snap may be.

Neither would I claim  that doing the world’s best PS job on the original capture, film or digital, makes any difference other than to the condition of that capture; it is still another person`s invention. You might as well photograph Donatello’s David and rate yourself along with Donatello.

Street photography. It depends on whether you refer to it as the shooting of humans wandering about on their normal business, or if you mean images of city thoroughfares, buildings, and/or the juxtaposition of the one with the other. You might define such images as cityscapes, but hardly landscape which pretty much by definition means representations of the land, the natural thing. Concrete canyons do not landscapes make.

Or so I see it.

Rob C

Ray

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #51 on: January 20, 2013, 08:52:30 AM »

Really?

And what about landscaped gardens?
If I went to Hyde Park, London or Central Park, NYC, would a photograph of that park taken inside the park fit your definition of landscape given that both are work of men and not nature?


Where did you get the idea that a landscaped garden is the work of men and not of nature?

It is the work of both men and nature. However, without nature there would be no garden. Without man there would still be a garden, albeit an unkempt, free-growing and natural garden, so the aspect of nature is always by far the more significant aspect in any landscape, even a cultivated garden.

Most plants in any location grow in such a location because they were planted there by some animal, whether by Homo Sapiens (being objective here), a rodent, a squirrel or a bird crapping out an undigested seed, or simply by the wind blowing the seed there.

There are always exceptions I guess. It is claimed that the Antarctic Beech trees in Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia, got there, not through some animal carrying or dropping the seed, but as a result of continental breakup and drift.

About 100 million years ago or more, when Australia didn't exist and was part of a massive super-continent called Gondwana, those Antarctic Beech trees were growing in the same location. They regenerate through a process known as coppicing, whereby new shoots are sent out from the trees roots. How those trees originally began growing in that particular location in Gondwana Land, I don't think anyone knows. Perhaps the seeds were deposited there by a dinosaur.

Quote
Is street photography a subset of landscape photography? If not, where and what is the overlap between the two, if there is one?

Common usage defines the meaning of common words. Most people, I think, would not describe street photography as a type of Landscape. They might use the term Cityscape, though.

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Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #52 on: January 20, 2013, 09:26:02 AM »

Why didn't you say so before?

I did -- it's just another thing you chose to ignore in your quest for truth and realism.
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Isaac

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #53 on: January 20, 2013, 09:32:58 AM »

Without man there would still be a garden, albeit an unkempt, free-growing and natural garden,... Common usage defines the meaning of common words.

Garden.

Countryside.

Landscape.
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Ray

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #54 on: January 20, 2013, 10:26:35 AM »

Garden.

Countryside.

Landscape.

All almost totally dependent on nature. A rose is a rose, whether planted my man or planted from a bird dropping.
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Dave (Isle of Skye)

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #55 on: January 20, 2013, 07:35:12 PM »

Landscape, at best, is just a copy of nature from the most favourable vantage point that the snapper can find or perhaps access; he has added nothing of his own other than the angle of view, which is hardly creative but certainly a good use of judgement.

Rob C


Can't say I agree with any of that statement Rob, there is so much more to creating good landscape images than what you are suggesting, and I'm surprised that you think it is simply a matter of finding the most favourable vantage point to produce nothing more than a photocopy of nature.

In fact I think landscape is arguably the most difficult type of photography to get right, as you have no control over the weather/light or the environment and the objects placed within it, you are by default trying to abstract (frame) a pleasing/satisfying compositional subset from the huge and sprawling mess of nature.

Landscape photography is more akin to hunting than it is to shopping.

I think Eric Meola's images are colourful and pleasant to look at but definitely nothing new or special, Tony Sweet and Bryan Peterson have been creating this kind of imagery for years.

Dave
« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 07:38:40 PM by Dave (Isle of Skye) »
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Ray

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #56 on: January 20, 2013, 09:58:58 PM »

I presume Rob means that the landscape shooter has to take it as it comes. If you don't like the conditions, you have to return on another day. If you want a sunset shot, you have to be there at sunset. The potential for creativity might therefore seem to be less because you cannot tell the sun to shine, nor tell a tree to move to one side, whereas one can tell a model to smile or to raise her leg on the chair.  ;D
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dreed

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #57 on: January 21, 2013, 12:33:07 AM »

I presume Rob means that the landscape shooter has to take it as it comes. If you don't like the conditions, you have to return on another day. If you want a sunset shot, you have to be there at sunset. The potential for creativity might therefore seem to be less because you cannot tell the sun to shine, nor tell a tree to move to one side, whereas one can tell a model to smile or to raise her leg on the chair.  ;D

Similar restrictions when photographing a man made landscape...

The impact of weather and lighting in an uncontrolled environment is really the distinction between landscape and model/studio photography.
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Rob C

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #58 on: January 21, 2013, 04:04:15 AM »

I presume Rob means that the landscape shooter has to take it as it comes. If you don't like the conditions, you have to return on another day. If you want a sunset shot, you have to be there at sunset. The potential for creativity might therefore seem to be less because you cannot tell the sun to shine, nor tell a tree to move to one side, whereas one can tell a model to smile or to raise her leg on the chair.  ;D



Absolutely, and the greater difference is that without the two of you interacting, the moment would never have existed: it had to have been created.

It's an active rather than passive concept.

;-)

Rob C

Rob C

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Re: Eric Meola article
« Reply #59 on: January 21, 2013, 04:18:59 AM »

Can't say I agree with any of that statement Rob, there is so much more to creating good landscape images than what you are suggesting, and I'm surprised that you think it is simply a matter of finding the most favourable vantage point to produce nothing more than a photocopy of nature.

In fact I think landscape is arguably the most difficult type of photography to get right, as you have no control over the weather/light or the environment and the objects placed within it, you are by default trying to abstract (frame) a pleasing/satisfying compositional subset from the huge and sprawling mess of nature.Landscape photography is more akin to hunting than it is to shopping.

Dave


Indeed, I agree with all of that. But hunting isn’t creating.

Difficulty isn’t a measure of creativity; if anything, that flies in the face of the concept of simplicity providing the finer art.

I never meant this as a put-down of any sorts: I know from personal trial and almost constant error in the genre that it doesn’t come easily or for free. However, I also realised to my own (dis)satisfaction that it wasn’t a creative pursuit: Even my very rare success didn’t bring the feeling of wow, look what I did, Mum! If anything, it made me happy to have been at the right place at the right time and to have had a camera along for the ride. And that’s the rub: it’s all  beyond the photographer’s ability to make happen; that being so, how can he claim authorship of something for which he can but wait, in hope of it happening all by itself?

Just my experience, and all I have to go on upon which to base personal opinion.

Rob C

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