IMO "traditional" landscape has been beaten to death. Waterfalls are nice, but I have yet to see a better shot than Caponigro's Glencar falls. Who can make a better shot than Adam's "Clearing winter storm" or any of the Barbaum landscapes? Few of us have the time, money and luck to be at the right place at the right time.
OTOH the current successful landscapes are not the dramatic, Wagnerian ones, but the minimalistic quiet ones. Take a look at the pictures from David Fokos, Bill Schwab, David J Osborne, and you will see what I mean.
As a magazine editor get used to seeing the same thing over and over and over. Unfortunately there are many photographers out there who are technically superb but have not found their place in photography or have fallen on a rut. It is easier to keep on doing the same stuff you have been successfully doing in the past than moving out of your comfort zone. As such I am sure you will be getting a lot of waterfalls, water running over rocks, etc, etc.
I think your friend photographer misspoke, collectors no longer buy the "traditional" landscape unless the photographer is one who is well known. But I think they buy the new breed of landscape like those of whom I mentioned.
Depends on your market.......If you have to feel that you are in the market......those "collectors" dont at this time buy "landscapes" unless of course it is a newly discovered Northern Baroque Calvinistic landscape painting etc......however for a while and most recently in Paris, (where by the way at Disney land they have a wild west cowboy show....not unlike the Buffalo Bill Wild West show of days gone by), landscapes of the American Wild West were really poplular even in large format black and white and Platinum.....
I recently observed sales of some very successful American photographers of the American landscape....all in color and all film.......in Sun Valley and the Ketchum Idaho area......also in Las Vegas there is a gallery of exceptional color landscape photography and wild life in the landscape ...analog....all by one photographer who knows what to shoot and how to market....prints are in the thousands of dollars for some and he sells sells and sells and has to as the rent space is upwards of 100 bucks per foot per month plus a percentage of the cash register....and this photographer has outlets around the country....for years I have also observed the same success of a photographer I am aquainted with in Key West, photographing only the land-seacape, who knows how to market and sells at respectable and justifiable prices to an appreciative customer base....who cares if the 50 inch print goes above the favorite sofa....and who cares if they are a "collector" or just enamoured with the beauty and glory of the captured moment! I think landscape is alive and well and one of the most saleable images one can produce..........
Most photographers and painters now recognized by the "collectors" died in a state of very respectable poverty, never appreciating the fact that they were such a genius!
Dave in Vegas
(I'm not really a very good photographer-I enjoy the struggle and I purchase when another gets it right....because I like to look at it and I do hang it on the wall over the couch}
It is just possible that a number of photographers that take landscape photos in balck & white could care less if they ever sell one. There is in my unstudied by well considered opinion a large number of photographers doing work of fine quality for their own satisfaction. Unfortunately, all too often the worth of the work comes down to dollars in the opinion of all too much of society. Give someone a free photo that is very nice and finely crafted and many of them will consider it to be worth what it cost them... $.00.
I think a large part of why there is so much landscape photography is that there is a definite "parroting" of what some noted photographers have done. I agree with Jorge that landscapes have been done ad nauseum. So have most of everything else. I could care less if I see another slot canyon, doorway, window, passageway, rock formations or tree(s)
In my estimation, there is very little good original work being done when one strips out what are the apparent copies of someone else's work.
A lot of this stuff is bought for different reasons other than just as a collectors investment. Especially stuff bought regionally. In fact probably most of what is bought is for commercial or personal placement with out a thought towards future returns. So as redundant as most of this stuff is people can attach a certian value to these image just because they "know personally the image maker" It does not happen very often that individual image creaters come out of the gates with an obsolute personal concept and exacution consistantly placing themselves apart from the rest of the group. So as in all mediums there is a repetitious glut of ideas that are sold. Landscapes are certainly one of those.
Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!
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Why? Because landscapes excite me!!!
I can think of nothing more satisfying than going to a nice quiet spot along the shore, or in the mountains, or in the farmlands, and attempting to capture the beauty of the natural world. I'm not bothered in the least by seeing another slot canyon, rock formation, tree, waterfall - I've photographed in the slot canyons of Arizona and would again if I was there.
Every image is unique, because the light is always just a bit different, the foreground is just a bit different - I don't care if others have shot these images before me. I have to admit though, I don't get much out of black and white landscapes, I love the dimension of color - just to see the warm tones on grasses, along the tips of the crashing waves; I just love it, the warmth brings a sense of life to the image. I never get tired of seeing images by Jack Dykinga, Joe Cornish, John Fielder.
Just this afternoon, I was a Keawa'ula Bay shooting the setting sun in the clouds - a rainstorm had just passed and the sky was full of sunbeams, shooting through the clouds.
Originally Posted by inkedmagazine
I think one of the simplest answers that most won't want to hear is that its safe. Nobody is dieing or being exploited by any means. And as times change, the values of traditional landscape seem to shift less then the values for other types of works. (I don't mean values as in money)
We live in a world where people are running at a very fast pace, and no one knows how long the race lasts. Or weather you will go home from work today, case in point, my building was just evacuated because of a package that was left on the front steps. Quiet peaceful landscapes can sooth the soul.
I don't agree with your friend's numbers about how many people collect landscape work. I would be careful of taking numbers from one source and calling them fact. When I went to the AIPAD show in NY last year, a large number of the dealers were showing and selling landscape work. The more modern looking people type of shots like you might see in Aperture magazine were not popular. Classic figure work was also rather prominent, but it is on the safer side of nudes also.
Why do I make photographs that include the landscape? I can't help it, I like it, and sometime people want to see what I was looking at.
I used to dream of travelling to exotic locations to photograph landscapes. Then I looked out the window one day and realised I live in an exotic location...
So I shoot landscape because that's what there is most of around here. And besides it doesn't run away when I start unpacking the LF camera.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
Landscapes are safe? Hah.
Originally Posted by Ole
I hugged a tree ... and it died.
My pet rock ran away.
I thought an arroyo was a desert stream; shot the worlds longest exposure waiting for the water.
It gets worse!
LF film had me stymied until I stopped pushing the 5" side into the 4" slot.
As a programmer I was stuck in DEVELOP, STOP, FIX. I got the first part, then stopped, and never found out what was broken.
As photographers here we often get caught up in thinking the universe centers around us. Case in point....your question.
Originally Posted by inkedmagazine
I would say that the overwelming majority of photographers that sell prints are wedding photographers. Hundreds of thousands on any given Saturday.
The next group, although they probably aren't prints anymore would be product photographers and fashion photographers.
If you talking about "fine art" then the answer would probably be the same reason that the majority of things hung on your walls, paintings, photographs etc, are so called "pretty pictures" that people use to calm the soul and enjoy to look at.
As for photographers, photographing people is probably harder than landscapes and generally people don't really want other people on their walls.
Most people don't care to have Migrant Mother, or Churchill or child running from naplam displayed in their living room.
Just my skewed point of view.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.