Archive for the ‘Landscape’ Category

Landscape Module – Final Images

Posted: January 22, 2014 in Landscape
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The following images are a selection of 12 shots that could be part of my final submission. As said before, the idea was to try and shoot the British landscape and show it in a way that resembles my thoughts from years ago, when I still lived in The Netherlands. To be honest, the way I thought about the British landscape was quite accurate. There are indeed beautiful hills, stone walls, large fields and lots of green. It was quite nice to shoot a real, proper traditional landscape. Normally I’d try and do something different, to actually make it less traditional and less cliché. So it was a different kind of shoot to what I would normally do. Unfortunately, I can only submit 10 images, so I’ve got some considering to do.

For this shoot, I planned to visit the Holmfirth area in West-Yorkshire, UK. I knew that I would be able to find the type of landscape there that I was looking for.

Equipment:

– Canon 550D camera

– Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens

– Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens

– Tripod

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I’ve decided to take a look at where it all began for landscape photography and landscape in general. I feel the history is quite important and it’s fantastic to see how much, if anything, has changed over the centuries. Looking at old paintings and other artwork, the traditional landscape hasn’t changed much. It’s mainly the media we use to depict these landscapes that is different now.

14th – 16th Century

The earliest landscapes in art were created during Greek and Roman times, when people began to paint landscape murals on the walls of expensive houses and villas. It wasn’t until the Renaissance that landscape became popular. People began to see the landscapes as places where they could have fun and pleasure, which made them look at the landscape with renewed interest.

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Lamentation over Christ by Master of Frankfurt – Late 15th, early 16th Century (Oil on Panel)

During these times, landscape paintings weren’t created in their own right, but mainly as backgrounds for religious scenes and portraits. Once landscapes were portrayed more accurately, it was easier for the artists to include figures that were in proportion compared to the rest of the scene. In the early days, people and other subjects were often far too large in comparison. At this stage, they also started to use colour in a better way to represent the mood of the scene.

17th Century

By the 17th Century, there were two places where landscapes were an important part of art. Italy and The Netherlands. In Italy, landscape did not have a very high status. They were often found to be idealised and classical. In The Netherlands, however, political changes were reflected in the artwork after the Northern Netherlands won independence from Spain. People weren’t interested in Catholic artwork anymore, as this was linked to the Spanish rule. So instead, painters began to paint the flat, but recognisable, landscape of the country. This reflected great national pride.

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Avenue at Meerdervoort by Aelbert Cuyp – Early 17th Century (Oil on Canvas)

However, by the late 17th Century, there were many landscape paintings in the Netherlands that were influenced by Italy in their traditions and colours.

18th Century

During the 18th Century, people started to travel around Europe and Italy in particular. They would often buy artwork which depicted imaginary scenes of architecture in pictoresque settings. Canoletto was an artist that was particularly popular with these tourists. He was famous for his paintings of Venice.

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Regatta on the Grand Canal by Canoletto – c. 1730 (Oil on Canvas)

There were now two new centres of landscape art. France and Britain. Watteau, a French artist, invented the ‘Fête Galante’. These were pastoral scenes in which people enjoyed picnics and walks. Over in Britain, Gainsborough used to sketch his scenes before finishing the final scenes in his studio. He sometimes even created miniature models of his landscapes in order to paint them with more accuracy.

19th Century

This was a time with important developments for landscape, with the invention of photography. Artists were no longer required to paint faithful, topographical depictions of the landscape, which allowed them to interpret it with much greater freedom.

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View at Ornans by Gustave Courbet – 1864 (Oil on Canvas)

Because there were also improvements in artists’ equipment, many started painting outside in the open. This resulted in many spontaneous paintings. Courbet and Bourdin were two such artists who enjoyed painting in the open air. In the late 19th Century, Impressionists started causing a bit of a stir by creating paintings that seemed unfinished.

20th Century and beyond

In these modern times, landscape is far more than just the traditional scenes. Artists are using new media to create environments with light and colour.

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Schooner approaches harbour by Alfred Wallis – 1930 (Oil on Metal)

The world is getting more and more built up and architecture is everywhere. This means that the urban landscape features heavily now, as well as artwork which reflects the plight of the landscape in the face of industrialisation and population growth.

 

Source:

http://www.museumnetworkuk.org

Porter

Eliot Furness Porter, born in Winnetka, Cook County Illinois, USA in 1901, was an American photographer most known for his colour nature photographs.

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Porter was an amateur photographer since being a child. He always photographed Great Spruce Head Island, which was owned by his family. In the 1930’s, Porter was introduced to Adam Ansel by a friend of the family. Around the same time, his brother introduced him to Alfred Stieglitz.

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Stieglitz took a liking to Porter’s black and white work and when Stieglitz showed Porter’s work in one his gallery exhibits, it was a great success. So much so, that Porter decided to leave his job at Harvard and pursue photography full-time. It wasn’t until the 1940’s that Porter changed over to colour, the technique he used his entire career and is famous for today.

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Porter published several books, which contained nature studies and photographs of ecologically important and culturally significant locations to which Porter travelled during his career. Unfortunately, Porter died in 1990 after which his personal archive was given to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.

The reason I looked at Porter for my research was mainly a composition reason. He has shot several images of similar composition and subject to what I’m going to try, so I thought it’d be useful to have a look. A lot of Porter’s work seems to be of a wildlife aspect, which isn’t what I’m interested in at all. However, his landscapes are very traditional both in looks as well as technique it seems. Hopefully I can take something away from his work and perhaps use it in my own.

Image Sources:

http://www.npr.org

http://www.cartermuseum.org

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Rodney Lough Jr. is an American landscape photographer, born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1960.

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In 1988 he graduated with a degree in Statistics and Mathematics, after which he had a job as a statistician and mathematician in the corporate world. It was a job he gave up 7 years later to become a full time landscape photographer. Lough Jr. is now famous for his vibrant landscapes, shot from Alaska to the American South-West.

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Lough Jr. has received several awards for his images. In 2007 he received  the ‘Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Print Awards – Best Landscape Photographer’ and two years later the ‘Printing Industries of America Award (“Benny” Award) – Best of Category for ‘Art Books (4 or more colors)’ for his book Beyond the Trail.

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I decided to look into Lough Jr. because I love the way he plays with shapes, textures and colour in his images. Some images are just amazing when it comes to the vibrancy and the lines and shapes. Not all his images involve the kind of look I’d like to go for in my images, but I’ll be mainly focussing on the traditional landscape shots. In some ways, Lough Jr. reminds me of Joe Cornish. They both use these amazing, almost dream-like colours in their shots. This is probably the reason I like Lough Jr., as Joe Cornish remains one of my favourite landscape photographers. Although it’s winter now and the weather is rather miserable, hopefully I’ll be able to catch a nice winter’s day and shoot some vibrant scenes of my own.

 

Image Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_Lough_Jr.

http://www.rodneyloughjr.com

I’ve also looked at a photographer who I admire very much indeed: Joe Cornish.

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Joe Cornish is a British landscape photographer, born in 1958 in Exeter in England, UK. Using mainly 5×4 cameras, he has produced a lot of work for the National Trust and has featured in many magazines such as ‘Amateur Photographer’ and ‘Outdoor Photography’.

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Cornish has published several books containing his images. He also teaches landscape photography and owns two galleries in North Yorkshire. His interest in photography started when he was studying art at Reading University. After graduating here he worked for four years as an assistant in London and Washington D.C.

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For around a decade he used 35mm and 6×6 film cameras for his shots. In 1995 he started working with a Horseman SW 612 wide-angle camera and a year later he started working with the 5×4 cameras. It allowed him to develop the style that he is famous for today. He used these cameras up until 2008, after which he started to integrate four different digital formats. His love for large format work remains, but according to Cornish “times have changed”.

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The way Cornish works is all to do with the landscape. Developing a language of light and form that illuminates the subject, without attracting too much attention to the photographer. This is very visible in his images and it remains at the heart of his mission, according to Cornish.

My personal opinion of Cornish’s work is one of admiration. I love his images. The use of light, the low angles of the shots and the colours are simply amazing. His choice of beautiful landscapes with always something in the foreground is beautiful. These images are a perfect example, when it comes to the colours, of what I want to see in my own images in this project. Where Cornish often photographs scenes of water, I’m going to try and apply all this to the hills and fields of the British landscape. Being captivated by landscape photography myself, Cornish’s work is something I would love to try and emulate in my own images. At this moment in time I think he’s my favourite landscape photographer. I just love these ‘dreamscapes’.

 

Image Sources:

http://www.joecornishgallery.co.uk

http://www.onlandscape.co.uk

For the landscape module, I’ve been looking at other practitioners that have projects and photographs that tie in with my own work.

Of course I have looked at Ansel Adams, an American landscape photographer and environmentalist. He’s famous for his large format black and white photographs of the American West.

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Even though the large format cameras are big and heavy, take a long time to set up and the cost of film is expensive, Adams still preferred them because of their high resolution. This helped in making sure his images were as sharp as they could be.

He produced his first portfolio in 1927, which earned him nearly $3,900. A huge amount for that time. It was called Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras and it contained his famous image Monolith, The Face of Half Dome. It was at this stage that Adams felt his photographs were worthy of the world’s critical examination.

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Adams was especially productive, as well as experimental, between 1929 and 1942. It was in 1931 that he put on his first solo exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution, which featured 60 prints taken in the High Sierra. Over his 60 year career, Adams has put on many exhibitions. He also published in magazines, co-founded a magazine, wrote a childrens book with his wife.
He also founded Group f/64, together with Imogen CunninghamWillard van Dyke and Edward Weston after doing a group show at the M.H. de Young Museum in 1932.. This organisation was all about ‘pure and straight photography’, rather than pictorialism. This is quite funny really, because Adams’ famous Monolith photograph would have been unacceptable by their standards, because he used a strong red filter to create a black sky.
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Adams has always been well known for his photographs of the National Parks in the US, especially Yosemite National Park, documenting what they were like before the influx of tourism. He contracted with the Department of the Interior in 1941, to take photographs of the National Parks, Indian Reserves and other locations. They wanted mural sized photographs for their new building. Part of the deal was that he could also use some photographs for his own use. Unfortunately, Adams forgot to record the date of his famous photograph ‘Moonrise’, which shows the moon rising above a small Mexican village, with snowy mountains in the background. Because nobody knows the exact date, it is unclear whether this photograph belongs to the U.S. Government or Adams himself.

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Although I really like his work and will definitely be influenced by him a lot in my own images, my work will be in colour rather than black and white. My aim will be to portray the idilic British landscape and colour is crucial to achieve this. But I’ll try and use other things, such as his composition, in my own images.

Image Sources:

http://www.temple.edu/photo/photographers/adams/home.htm

http://artroots.com/art/art14_index.html

http://mandatorymovieblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012_01_01_archive.html

http://www.outoffocusphotography.in/index.php/ansel-adams-photographs/

This is Britain!

Posted: November 20, 2013 in Landscape
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For the landscape module, titled “This Is Britain”, I am thinking of looking at the British landscape from the perspective of a foreigner. This shouldn’t be a problem, seeing as I am Dutch. I want to try and revisit my thoughts of Britain’s landscape from before I moved here. When I thought of the landscape I always thought of hills, stone walls, large fields and just generally a LOT of green. When I moved, I wasn’t disappointed. So I want to try and capture these things, with a title of something like “This Is Britain… Through the eyes of a Dutchman”.

The following are a few practise shots with that theme in mind.

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What is a landscape?

Posted: November 20, 2013 in Landscape
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Each person will define landscape photography in a different way. For one person it can mean beautiful mountain ranges, for someone else it’s farmland. It depends what that person’s interests are and also where that person lives. If you’ve never seen snow, it’s unlikely that landscape photography would include the snowy mountain tops of the Alps.

To me, a landscape photograph should exist out of exactly that: a landscape. I don’t think a landscape photograph should include things such as skylines or oceans, because they’re cityscapes and seascapes. Water such as lakes and ponds should not be a problem though.

A good landscape photograph often gives a sense of what it was like in the area at the time the photographer took the image. It captures things such as the light, what season of the year it was and the atmosphere of the area.

Although the exact definition of landscape photography can vary from person to person, they can often be put in three categories:

  • Representational
  • Impressionistic
  • Abstract

Representational landscape photographs are photographs that show the landscape exactly how it was at the time. The photographer doesn’t do anything to change the image.

Impressionistic landscape photographs are the opposite, in that they try to give the viewer an illusion rather than the real scene. Things like filters and other effects are often used to create this.

In Abstract landscape photographs, the photographer would focus on the shapes and distance of his photographs. They often don’t show the full scene, but only certain aspects. Shapes, close-ups and patterns play a big part in these photographs.