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  1. #1

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    So which is up your alley

    David Henderson wrote this in another thread and it got me thinking. before anyone gets their knickers in a wad I am not calling David out just curious

    Quote Originally Posted by David Henderson View Post

    Unlike most of the people responding here, I'm not a Rowell fan; and neither do i think a lot of the other landscape photographers I've seen displayed there whose work I think to be oversaturated and gaudy. I'd drive a few hours to photograph in the Alabama Hills though!
    Okay, this caught my eye. I am not saying his opinion is wrong or anything but I instantly wondered what he would look for in the way of color landscape photography?

    I happen to be a huge Rowell fan but put Freeman Patterson equal to him, so there are two different parts of the spectrum. One saturated one pastel. What turns your crank if not the rowellesque image?
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  2. #2
    Alden's Avatar
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    I've not been able to stay in one camp or the other for keeps. There's always something from the supercolor camp (some call it eco-porn ) that just can't be denied. Especially Eliot Porter's work, who ready did color without making you sick. His color seems honest and represents the truest color landscapist to me. Others like Jack Dykinga, David Muench, and the many that filled the Sierra Club calendars for years have knocked me out. Galen also is an exceptional documentary photographer, so he often brings more than glorious color to your eyes.

    But that said, Mark Klett has personaly got me outdoors more than about any of them. I don't seek a super duper mind blowing color picture, because for one thing, they read too quick. Like commercial art, bang, and it's over. I like the stuff that holds back, even resists a little, then builds and builds, because your mind is engaged. Not just eye candy in other words, and not just a trophy, but an actual statement.
    Last edited by Alden; 01-14-2008 at 08:17 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spell

  3. #3
    donbga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    David Henderson wrote this in another thread and it got me thinking. before anyone gets their knickers in a wad I am not calling David out just curious



    Okay, this caught my eye. I am not saying his opinion is wrong or anything but I instantly wondered what he would look for in the way of color landscape photography?

    I happen to be a huge Rowell fan but put Freeman Patterson equal to him, so there are two different parts of the spectrum. One saturated one pastel. What turns your crank if not the rowellesque image?
    Well if this makes any sense, I like both Rowell and Patterson but I'm not a big fan of either. I enjoy looking at their work and admire their talents but don't seek to make photos like theirs.

    I do reccomend to my students that they look at Patterson's work since I think it is very accessible and easy to enjoy and understand (say as opposed to work by Stephen Shore).

    I met Galen about a year before his death and found him to be an interesting speaker and thought he was a good photographer. He very gladly signed the books of a friend of mine that asked me to get them signed at his presentation. I think he may be described as a fully self realized individual. I don't think there was much difference between his work life and his personal life, a very spiritual person.
    Don Bryant

  4. #4

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    Before Rowell and Muench, etc., discovered Velvia, I really liked their work better. Rowell's Kodachromes and Muench's Ektachromes were less eye-battering than the Fujichromes both started to use later on. Even with the overdone colors, I still like much of what they have done. I also have a lot of respect for photographers like Phillip Hyde and Eliot Porter. Their photos were deceptively simple and utterly charming. I've read some critiques of Porter, saying his colors were not realistic. Maybe not but, then again, maybe they were realistic to his vision. Porter made the small details important and Hyde made vast expanses more intimate.

  5. #5

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    I really wasn't looking for a critique of either photographer. I was more interested in what qualities of the color landscape image you are drawn too.

    I like Porter but I honestly cannot remember a single image I have seen of his. I agree that he was able to see the small stuff and make it important but I my overall impression of his images are not very....I guess memorable is the word I am looking for. That being said I remember so many of Muench's, Rowell's Patterson's and Teague's (yes our own Robert). Taste is a strange thing.

    I am not familiar with Hyde and will have to look him up. Same with Klett.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  6. #6
    Alden's Avatar
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    Klett is mostly black and white, so I guess you need'nt bother. Robert Glenn Ketchum was another I thought of, that doesn't go for the candy. Porter definitly ( and Hyde ) stands out to me and is memorable probably because I looked at his books for over thirty years. He's gentler with the whole thing, and doesn't scream. Now that you've brought this up, I just noticed that I'm leaning towards 90% black and white preference with landscape. The best of the contemporary color landscape photography I've seen, and I'm sorry I haven't got any names available, have made a real effort to work with less color.
    Last edited by Alden; 01-15-2008 at 05:32 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spell

  7. #7
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    I don't have any issue with the colour saturation I saw in Rowell's work at the Mountain Light gallery. He was entitled to his own artistry- whether he chose to be faithful to the natural colouring or to try to instill his own vision, that's his prerogative.

    I do have slightly more issue with the use of GNDs- in some cases it just becomes an effect unto itself and may even detract from the core message of the scene. More often than not I felt that Rowell's treatment via GNDs was perfect or close to perfect, but just a few examples looked overworked to my eye.

    My only other slight quibble with the gallery is that, in my opinion, some of the enlargements were excessive. I realize that they want to fill the space with colour and most people stand back quite far from the prints... but in some cases I felt that the level of detail and tonality just wasn't there and I would have preferred a smaller, more intimate print.

    But as for vision, dedication to his craft, artistic sincerity and so forth, Rowell was and will continue to be a major source of inspiration in landscape photography.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  8. #8
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    I love the patterns and mysteries that great photographers bring out of the landscape, a trait I attempt (sometimes in vain) to emulate. A pertinent example, in Rowell's 'North America: the Beautiful' he makes an image of the Bugaboos in the Canadian Rockies and I am looking at these Fitz Roy-esque granite spires emerging from a glacier and taking in the drama of the image when about a minute later I finally notice the reflection of a backpacker in the low light water in the foreground who is all but lost in the shadows of the lower mountains. It was a thrilling surprise to finally capture this portion of the image with my eyes.

    I suppose I like landscapes that MAKE the viewer search for the hidden element and reward them with a true delight. As to color landscape, I am much more a fan of B&W than color. Sometimes it seems that color landscape is more a choice of film than the application of technique. Not to bash the greats that use color, I just prefer the monochrome image and use of contrast control that is inherant in great black and white shots.
    Thank you.
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    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  9. #9
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    One of the more interesting things about Galen Rowell, to me, was the fact that he was a climber and could photograph the landscape from places that were hard to get to and show things that most people don't get to see, which is one of the most basic possibilities of photography. I'm a bit ambivalent about the supersaturated look, and when I've seen his prints I think he could have done more with a larger format (which he could have done with a lightweight MF or LF kit, and as he did later in his career with 6x17), but he still had a fine sense of composition, color, and light.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  10. #10
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    FWIW I tend not to look as hard at the super color pictures. I don't know if it is my mind saying "pretty picture, move on" or if it is my minds saying "Too much information" When I worked the state fair photo exhibition, super chroma seemed to be the prevelant mode of expression amongst the bazillion entries.

    If I force myself to stay at it, I wind up liking it much more, and I find relationships, and points of interest, as in any photograph, and can wind up really enjoying it.

    For some reason though, Ciba's seem to fall outside this rule. I don't know why, but I can spot a Ciba (or Ilfo) a mile away, and when I look at one it feels almost like a window.

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