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roteague
02-24-2005, 07:29 PM
Did the "masters" of landscape that you mention, have "emotion" in their work?

Just asking.

Do you get an emotional feeling from looking at landscape photographs?

I'm not sure that I do.

I have great appreciation for technique, great admiration for the locale etc but I don't really recall it to be an emotional experience.

Michael

I feel that they do, at least for me; I just have a passion for the landscape. Put me in a room full of Stieglitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson and I would be bored to death. Put me in a room of Dykinga, Till, Muench, Fielder, Cornish and I would probably never leave.

eric
02-24-2005, 07:53 PM
I have great appreciation for technique, great admiration for the locale etc but I don't really recall it to be an emotional experience.


I got to admit, I feel the same way. I usually look at landscape photography as "man, I'm glad I didn't haul that big ass camera to that point and get my $300 tripod all wet." or "man, I wish I was there" type feeling. That's not emotion is it? Wanting to be there?

Unless of course, there was a red couch in the foreground...then I'll feel really emotional :)

Ed Sukach
02-24-2005, 08:41 PM
I got to admit, I feel the same way. I usually look at landscape photography as "man, I'm glad I didn't haul that big ass camera to that point and get my $300 tripod all wet." or "man, I wish I was there" type feeling. That's not emotion is it? Wanting to be there?
Unless of course, there was a red couch in the foreground...then I'll feel really emotional :)

Yes. It is. Serenity, a feeling of peace, of being at ease... all are emotions.

I've been taught that there are three BASIC emotions; Love, Fear, and Anger ... and everything we can experience is a combination of varying amounts of these.

Look at it this way: "wanting to be there" = + (plus) Love; - (minus) anger; - (minus) fear. The addition of the Red Couch" might keep the same level of "love"; increase anger, in the form of aggression, to "lust" ....

bjorke
02-24-2005, 10:38 PM
I'm with the Blansky on this one, at least as far as "straight" landscape is concerned. Pretty dead stuff most of the time.

There have been demographic studies done trying to sort-out what is attractive about a landscape image -- what sorts of images do people find appealing? The result was that landscapes that appealed to primitive homonids -- trees for foor and hiding, water, safe areas with open air -- were dominant.

Now to look at Ansel, or later acolytes like Rowell, we see a desire to express the transcendant -- might ring a little hollow these days, but it's there. There are other options: consider Polidori's ZONES OF EXCLUSION. Is it landscape? Yeah, built landscape. With a story. If it does not contain people, at least it contains their skidmarks -- and those are what give it a clear emotional tone, far more successfully than another sunset.

One could say the same of, oh, Chris Jordan or Michael Wolf or Robert Adams. The landscape and the Evans-like architectural documentary begin to fold back on to one another.

Emotion is not something you can just insert, like overexposure or ragged edges. It's not a sticker. It has to come from an understanding of the effect of an image on the mind of the (specific) viewer (I don't think YOU need to have that emotion -- the viewer does. How else could, say, a war photographer make it through the day?).

blansky
02-24-2005, 11:36 PM
I'm not sure, but what may be happening here is that people who are more into people photography are "emotionally" involved in that and like pictures of people, and the photographers that get an "emotional" charge out of landscapes are into photographing that.

Perhaps that is why we photograph what we photograph. One group does landscapes and the other does people.

We are trying to get each other to "experience" what we are feeling when we feel different things than each other.

Not a problem for me. You say potato and I say patato.

As a friend of mine used to say, "that's what makes a horse race".

Michael

kswatapug
02-24-2005, 11:51 PM
The common thread through all this discussion is to relate to the landscape in human, ie. emotional terms, as a living, breathing individual. Some of the most powerful imagery blurs the lines, treating the landscape as a human form, and vice versa. It is about making that connection with what's around you and communicate what you are "feeling" rather than what you are seeing.

colrehogan
02-25-2005, 06:22 AM
My question on the f32 site that brought the original post of this thread up in my mind was the following:

What separates a composition or photo from being elementary, or a snapshot from a good one?

And several of the responses included empathy, emotion and feeling.

photomc
02-25-2005, 07:45 AM
My question on the f32 site that brought the original post of this thread up in my mind was the following:

What separates a composition or photo from being elementary, or a snapshot from a good one?



Read the thread over on f32, did not really understand what they meant either.

Now here's my take..1st..The masters of the grand landscape photography from the early 1900's thru the 1950's were showing work to an audience that did not have the ability to travel as easy as we do today. So part of what they were doing was showing the public what was there, much like the earlier photographers had done on the different expeditions. Today someone sees a print - color or B&W and the first thing they think is hey, I can do that I have a xxxx camera, will be in the area for business, so there is no - WOW Wish I could see that, it is such strange place. 2nd..many of the landscapes have been over done, so almost any image looks like a snapshot. (BTW - no one ever seems to explain what they mean by that statement). My take is it looks like one of 10, 100, 1000 other shots of an image really nothing special except to the person that made it...and there is NOTHING WRONG with that.

As was mentioned, some just like people in their photos - it makes the more interesting..but even that can lead to a snapshot looking image. The same things that make a good people picture will make a good landscape picture..proper technique, attention to light (for me light provides much of the emotion in any image), what is the main subject of the photograph.

One thing I have started doing is asking myself - WHY do I want to make this photograph? Why is it worthy of the film, time, developing, etc? What is it about this scene that makes me want to photograph it and do I know how to show that, how to capture that emotion I feel right now on film. It has stopped many of the shots I used to make, can't always get the way I feel on film, but am trying to learn why not, when it does not work. IT WILL HAPPEN Diane, it may take some time, but you will start to know when it does, you will 'see' in a different way - or at least that is what happened to me...have I been successful, heck I don't know, but now I don't worry about what everyone else thinks, just what I feel, and what the photograph shows.

Good luck..

colrehogan
02-25-2005, 08:45 AM
Thanks Mike. And thanks to everyone else who replied.

mark
02-25-2005, 09:31 AM
I think Blansky hit it on the head. People who like people prefer people in landscape photographs. People who do not like people photography wonder why the hell the naked person is in the photograph.

I am definately the latter. A nude in the landscape is a bad landscape.

I am surprised that no one mentioned the importance of compositional placement in eliciting emotion in the viewer. Line is the idea I know most about. Straight, curving, S, jagged etc.. all serve to elicit certain emotions. You can make a dramatic landscape but in truth it has no emotion. If we look at a sky and think "that is an angry sky" we personify the sky. Give it human emotions. If we want to bring out this emotion in someone else we have to personify the sky in the image we present to them through our composition, printing, and presentation.

I like your last question a lot and wonder why you did not ask it here as well?

blansky
02-25-2005, 10:14 AM
photomc wrote.

Wish I could see that, it is such strange place. 2nd..many of the landscapes have been over done, so almost any image looks like a snapshot. (BTW - no one ever seems to explain what they mean by that statement).

We debate that in 2003 and I bumped it back into the ethics and philosophy forum. Maybe new people could go there and add their views.

Michael

George Losse
02-25-2005, 10:46 AM
"How do you put emotion & feeling into a landscape?"

I would say the first thing is for you to feel emotional about the landscape. It must resonate with you first, and if you can recognize the emotions then I would think that is the first step. Only then can you convey this emotion in your final print.

I agree....

If the photographer doesn't have a emotion/passion for their subject, in this case the landscape. Then its going to be hard to find emotion in their photographs of that subject.

The wonderful thing (TO ME) about photography, is that it's a great big window into the photographer. That's what makes a photograph more then just a landscape, it becomes an insight into how WE SEE the landscape. If we don't have a passion for it, then that shows also. Every photograph we make gives the viewer our viewpoint of the subject. That viewpoint is not just about camera angle or other technical things. It's about us, and what we feel.

Ed Sukach
02-25-2005, 11:13 AM
The wonderful thing (TO ME) about photography, is that it's a great big window into the photographer. That's what makes a photograph more then just a landscape, it becomes an insight into how WE SEE the landscape. If we don't have a passion for it, then that shows also. Every photograph we make gives the viewer our viewpoint of the subject. That viewpoint is not just about camera angle or other technical things. It's about us, and what we feel.

Exactly. I Wish I had written that - or have I?

It certainly sounds like me! - A lesson I've learned - not without some pain - over the years.

Bravo!, George!

Tom Stanworth
02-25-2005, 11:15 AM
Nicely related to a thread you have probably grown to hate me over but.....

I agree totally by those who think that you have to 'connect' with the lanscape you are trying to capture the essence of or perhaps enhance or subtly alter the essence of. Sometimes it hits me quickly, other times it can take a bit of being rained on and a few visits. I am frustrated by the times that I know what I feel, but cannot compose an image I feel has the potential to convey this (A case in point being a wood in N.Wales full of moss and hanging ferns that I have yet to expose an image in. I just cant get all my thoughts and sensory experiences into one image. I will keep visiting until I do.....). I know some would disagree, but it helps to understand what it is that moves you. I find that I am consciously aware of this, even if I find it hard to fully describe. The mechanics of operating the camera to 'get this' on film is the easy part as is filter selection to alter contrast/colour etc. Knowing what to get on film and how it should be portrayed in a print is the hard bit IMHO. In one case it might be wonderfully dramatic intimidating climatic conditions and another time the relationship betweeen folds in distant fields, so one cannot say in all cases how to do this. Goodness knows how many times I have failed to communicate what I have felt and want others to feel. I think if you know what you are trying to say to the viewer you are largely there.......the rest is the technical task of capture.

Some have suggested (in another thread) that the process can be subconscious, ie you feel things, but dont need to understand them to successfully get it on film and print it. I personally find that I do need to know what it is on some level to be able to know how to progress through the other stages (otherwise I would not know how to decide which filter to use or exposure and the myriad of other decisions if I did not know what I wanted to achieve and others to be able to see)

This thread's question is probably responsible for more frustration to me thn anything else in photography. Technical issues have simple(er) answers or lines along which to develop. When I am flummoxed on how to convey something, I am on my own!
Tom

roteague
02-25-2005, 11:22 AM
Yes. It is. Serenity, a feeling of peace, of being at ease... all are emotions.

Last Sunday morning, I hiked up to the top of Makapuu Point (about a 45 minute walk) in the dark in order to be able to photograph the sunrise. The point overlooks the Ka Iwi channel, and the you could see the sun rising behind the islands of Molokai, Maui and Lanai. Stunning!!!

Tom Stanworth
02-25-2005, 11:41 AM
An experience that will stay with forever was (whilst working at a safari lodge in Zimbabwe) was going for a run through what had been a forested mountain. There had been a bush fire a few days before and the forest was gone. What was left was a martian landscape of rock, thick ash, flickering trunks still alight and OMG...the smells. Above this hellish scene (which was probably the most unusual run I have been on.......) Black eagles circled beneath a piercing sun and the quick resumption of 'normal life' was astonishing. For me this was an intensely powerful experience. The scene held the essence of nature for me. The utter rawness, power and unforgiving qualities we both admire and fear. Along with this came the fact that we bounce back. The animals bounced back (those which had survived) and instantly returned to the daily demands of life on earth. In some senses, despite the magnitude of what had happened, nothing had happened. Life goes on. Needless to say, I did not have a camera (or in fact own one) at the time, but experiences like this inspired me to get one...! I am a nature lover. The 'energetic charge' I get from then land, the sense of connection is quiet unlike anything else for me. I can walk out into a wood and get a surge of euphoria - literally a 'high'. Not adrenalin....but more of a happy drug 'love' kinda feeling. I would not say the same as a kiss with a beautiful woman ;)... but fueled by equally base instinct programming.

I have also spent many years elsewhere in Africa and in the same countries where the landscape was moving, the human dimension is not lost on me either. I am primarily but not exclusively a landscape photographer and have a great deal of appreciation for photographers who deal with either.

Tom

blansky
02-25-2005, 11:41 AM
Last Sunday morning, I hiked up to the top of Makapuu Point (about a 45 minute walk) in the dark in order to be able to photograph the sunrise. The point overlooks the Ka Iwi channel, and the you could see the sun rising behind the islands of Molokai, Maui and Lanai. Stunning!!!

Having posted what I have posted on this subject, I will say that Hawaii is my favorite place on earth. I go twice a year and love it. I have done some landscapes there ( even though landscapes don't do too much for me) and I will say that it is beyond visually stunning. I grew up in the Rockies and that to me is also stunning but not as etherial (sp?) as my Hawaiian experience.

So when I see a Hawaiian landscape the picture is only emotional to me because it triggers the feeling of being there. The sounds, smells, the peace, the serenity of the place.

When I first saw pictures of Hawaii, before going there, it was not emotional. Just beautiful. After being there many times the pictures trigger the emotions that I experienced while I was there.

Michael

rbarker
02-25-2005, 12:57 PM
One of the things that I've been working on has been to develop an awareness of what it is about a scene or some other subject that grabs my attention and produces an emotional response in me. Is it the colors? The space? Just what is it that made me stop and say, "Ooo, wow!"? Doing that seems to help the process of trying to figure out how best to convey a similar emotion in the image of the thing.

If the emotion is the result of a single perspective on the scene, it can probably be translated to film. If, however, it's a combination of different views, some of which my eye may have "zoomed" in on small details, that becomes more difficult to capture in a single image. If it's the smell (ala Tom's burnt forest), it's even more difficult to capture. Certainly, one might compose with a smoldering stump in the foreground, and include the devastation in the background. But, the effectiveness of the image relies on evoking a similar memory in the viewer's experience.

bjorke
02-25-2005, 04:04 PM
People who do not like people photography wonder why the hell the naked person is in the photograph.Now wait a doggoned minute, where did that woman's clothing go, and when did this switch to nudes?

One can make the argument that a landscape devoid of people is emotional but there is a paradox or two inherent in that. There are always two people at a minimum: the photographer and the viewer. The connection between those two people (even the same person, between now and the future or past) implies a whole host of relationships that can only be ignored by the deliberately blind.

Rocks and trees and clouds don't move people, people do.


http://www.textanalyse.dk/Billeder/Robert%20Adams.jpg
Robert Adams

joeyk49
03-10-2005, 07:38 AM
I add emotion when I get something that looks like a photograph...

My family can here me cry out in joyful exultation from deep within the bowls of my basement..."Woohoo!"