Exercise 1.1: Preconceptions

I guess that when I thought about sketching a ‘landscape’ picture I immediately had a very
traditional concept of what it meant. So in true Claude Lorraine style I thought of a mass of trees to
one side, the ground disappearing off to a distant horizon. There are some people in the distance
providing a sense of scale to the image. There would probably be some buildings in the scene also
providing a sense of perspective. The image would be in traditional ‘landscape’ format with the
major points of interest located at the junction of the horizontal and vertical thirds of the picture. It
would be a very calm and beautiful scene rejoicing in the beauty of nature.
This is a very traditional view of a landscape, which I guess is not all that surprising given that I have
undertaken two History of Art modules as part of this course. I am very aware of other approaches
to the portrayal of a landscape, Whistler’s Nocturnes for example would be very different, as would
a surrealist landscape.

 

In terms of landscapes in photography then my first reaction would probably be to think of the black
and white prints of Ansel Adams and then later perhaps the work of someone like Fay Godwin.

Why did I choose to do this course? Well for a start I thought it would complement the other
modules that I have taken. I am interested in looking at how photography fits within a definition of
‘Art’ and I wanted to look at the different approaches taken by photography to landscape. I’ve also
been struck by something said by David Hockney when he was discussing landscapes. He talked of
the limitations of a landscape photograph and how it is a view from a fixed point, whereas humans,
generally, view a landscape by moving through it. So I am particularly interested in exploring this and
a possible photographic response.