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Author Topic: New Article - On Maintaining Artistic Relevance  (Read 984 times)

Jonathan Cross

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New Article - On Maintaining Artistic Relevance
« on: October 19, 2018, 04:43:40 AM »

This article has resonated with me.  Landscape images have changed over the years.  For instance the English landscape calendars of 40 or 50 years ago were often of picturesque villages, and now they are much more varied and competitions like Landscape Photographer of the  Year have simulated creativity.  Charlie Waite, who started that competition and who still drives it, has done much through his own images to develop new ways of seeing and use of colour.  In my own case, I have become dissatisfied with my early approach and to see the new ideas coming forward as refreshing.  Landscape painting has had a kick with David Hockney's Yorkshire paintings and his use of an ipad to 'paint'.  My wife, Jane, would sometimes say to me that my landscape images are empty, and I have now started to include people and the reaction from her and others has been good if only to give a sense of scale.  Black and white is also interesting me, and how to decide if an image works better in B&W rather than colour.  For instance, attached is an image of Exmoor taken after a light snow fall one night.  This had a good reception and restarted my b&w interest.  I have also started to be more interested in wildlife and am wrestling with the ideas of producing an image showing just an animal to get its full glory, or to show it in its environment. 


So thanks for helping me to continue to be dissatisfied and to want to explore new ideas and to improve.

Best wishes,

Jonathan
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: New Article - On Maintaining Artistic Relevance
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2018, 04:53:33 AM »

Very good article. Refreshing.

Rob C

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Re: New Article - On Maintaining Artistic Relevance
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2018, 05:22:53 AM »

This article has resonated with me.  Landscape images have changed over the years.  For instance the English landscape calendars of 40 or 50 years ago were often of picturesque villages, and now they are much more varied and competitions like Landscape Photographer of the  Year have simulated creativity.  Charlie Waite, who started that competition and who still drives it, has done much through his own images to develop new ways of seeing and use of colour.  In my own case, I have become dissatisfied with my early approach and to see the new ideas coming forward as refreshing.  Landscape painting has had a kick with David Hockney's Yorkshire paintings and his use of an ipad to 'paint'.  My wife, Jane, would sometimes say to me that my landscape images are empty, and I have now started to include people and the reaction from her and others has been good if only to give a sense of scale.  Black and white is also interesting me, and how to decide if an image works better in B&W rather than colour.  For instance, attached is an image of Exmoor taken after a light snow fall one night.  This had a good reception and restarted my b&w interest.  I have also started to be more interested in wildlife and am wrestling with the ideas of producing an image showing just an animal to get its full glory, or to show it in its environment. 


So thanks for helping me to continue to be dissatisfied and to want to explore new ideas and to improve.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

That, Jonathan, is one major factor that turned me off doing landscape: I always felt exactly the same way as did your wife when she told you that. I invariably used to choose shots that were sets, waiting for the model who never turns up. (Maybe a certain Ms Campbell knows what I mean.) In the end, I realised it just wasn't my bag at all.

Rob

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Re: New Article - On Maintaining Artistic Relevance
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2018, 10:48:42 AM »

I agree very strongly with Jonathon Cross and Rob C about the need to ensure that 'landscape photography' actually includes reflections (no pun intended) of the everyday landscape that we see and live in not merely some idealized utopian version. Of course we all enjoy the magnificent wildernesses in their pristine, unspoilt wonder but views of agrarian landscape being worked and lived in surely are no less 'landscapes' in their own right and also potentially of interest and worthy of 'artistic' endeavour.
The English painter Constable is generally acknowledged as a 'landscape painter' but his popular paintings of the Stour Valley and the Suffolk countryside frequently included the hand of man and often 'man' as well and indications of 'man's activities'.
Some months ago I posted on what I regard as one of the better sites under the banner of 'Landscapes' a photograph of a farmland scene juxtaposing two (modern) barns and a tractor (no people) and a stack of vegetable shipping crates with the land to which they related.
I saw this as an image of the rural landscape within which I live with an implied comment about the use of that landscape and the challenges - and sometimes contradictions - with which it is faced. I would hesitate to compare it with the juxtapositions of the lock mechanisms that are in Constable's "Flatford Mill" and I was certainly not specifically thinking of that at the time but it does have at least an echo of that if one looks for it. Yet I was subjected to a barrage of abuse along the lines that this could not be considered as landscape in any sense and should not have been posted there. It was even suggested that it should have been posted under "cityscapes" !  A several page discussion ensued - amusingly quite heated at times - between my main critic and his supporters and several others urging a more flexible approach to the definition.
It was only later that I found that the criticism originated from someone who leads commercial workshops into the wilderness areas. I would not dream of belittling that type of effort but it needs to be broadened - as this interesting article suggests cliche threatens down narrow approaches.
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John Ashbourne
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