I visited this free exhibition at the National Theatre just before Christmas.
Whilst I admire the techniques of many landscape photographers, I’m not always the greatest fan of images with milky water due to long exposures or HDR images which can sometimes look rather unnatural.
I did like the image that won the Landscape Photographer of the Year accolade, “Winter Field, Stirlingshire, Scotland”. The photographer, Robert Fulton, had discovered the site a year before, but the conditions weren’t right, so he returned a year later and waited until the light was just how he wanted.
It was interesting to read how he said he broke with convention and placed the focal point near the centre to allow the crop lines lead the viewers eyes into the scene. What I think i learned from seeing this image is the value of making a note of suitable subjects/sites that you can then return to when the conditions are right. From the image itself I learned how the foreground (crop lines) can be used to lead the viewers eyes into the focal point.
I was really impressed with the image that won the Young Landscape Photographer of the Year title. It was simply called “Armchair” and was taken in London. It is a great study in urban decay, the image is of a battered old armchair in a derelict house. It was just the opposite of the milky water/HDR shots that I mentioned earlier.
Beautifully exposed and composed I also liked the way the light was playing through the broken windows and the holes in the roof onto the graffiti and the armchair as focal point.
In fact I liked a lot of the entries in the ‘Urban View’ and ‘Your View’ categories. It showed me that there is a lot of scope for great landscape images away from the ‘Classic Views’ some of which I thought bordered on clichés.