LOL. Do you mean Meyerowitz' himself, his work, or both? From interviews I've seen of Meyerowitz, he doesn't come off as too likable, but your sentiments seem to go way past that.
Originally Posted by roteague
I think HCB was a complete idiot, but he is my favorite photographer. I'd like to think we are able to separate our personal feelings about the artist from their work.
Just because Stephen Shore and William Eggleston's vision of the landscape doesn't meet your eye as a landscape photograph does make it not so. Their work in the landscape is not an "odd photo or two." They both have a body of work in the landscape that has been shown at many museums throughout the world.
Originally Posted by roteague
What is your definition of a landscape photograph?
I've been a passionate landscape photographer for 30+ years, and I have never once heard either Shore or Eggleston mentioned as even being remotely associated with the field.
Originally Posted by PhotoHistorian
Landscape photography is about having an affinity for the natural world; in order to affinity for something something and show you love for it, you must have an understanding of it. Something which neither has shown in their work, hence a lack of recognition by the world of landscape photography for their work.
I don't know anything about him personally, and don't have an opinion on it. I object to his work. It is banal, mediocre and lacking in any appreciation for the natural world.
Originally Posted by hkr
BTW, as for HCB. I'm not a fan of his work, other than his stated objective of capturing the "defining moment", it is something I strive for in my own work.
Last edited by roteague; 08-19-2007 at 01:36 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Added blurb about HCB
I feel that I would be pretty hard pressed to find someone who WOULDN'T agree that they were landscape photographers...Just because they aren't necessarily pretty pictures celebrating nature doesn't mean they aren't landscape photographers. There is more than one type of landscape, and more than one type of landscape photographer.
Just my opinion.
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Originally Posted by dc1215
I agree completely with your opinion. A graffiti wall in the middle of the urban "landscape" can be as beautiful as anything one can find in Yosemite, Zion, Death Valley etc. And the creator would be a "landscape photographer."
Here are some book by real masters of color landscape photography:
Galen Rowell's Inner Game of Outdoor Photography by Galen Rowell
Large Format Nature Photography By Jack W. Dykinga
Light and the Art of Landscape Photography By Joe Cornish
Tom Mackie's Landscape Photography Secrets By Tom Mackie
Landscape Within By David Ward
Lee Frost's Panoramic Photography By Lee Frost
Photographing the Landscape: The Art of Seeing By John Fielder
America Wide: In God We Trust By Ken Duncan (one of Australia's top landscape photographers)
Desert: The Mojave and Death Valley By Jack W. Dykinga (whose images saved a desert landscape in the US and Mexico, creating a National Park in the process)
Jack Dykinga's Arizona By Jack W. Dykinga
The Great Southland By Ken Duncan
Links to these books:
Sorry, I don't have anything listed for masters such as David Muench, Tom Till, Tom Mangelsen, Christopher Burkett (who hand prints everything himself on Ilfochrome), Carr Clifton, John Shaw, Andris Apse, the late Peter Dombrovskis (who saved a river in Tasmania from destruction by his photographs), and of course, William Neil. Links: http://www.visionlandscapes.com/Resources.aspx
I don't actually own any of his books, but Richard Misrach is the colour landscape photographer who most resonates with me.
I enjoy the photographers that roteague admires, but mostly for the places they show me, not for how they show them. To me, their conception of the natural world and man's place in it is too narrow and sentimental.
Galen Rowell was an inspiration photographically and as a climber. His "Mountain Light" planted the first seeds of serious photography in me, and I still read through it regularly. But, again, as photography his work has a limited emotional compass.
Rowell and the others represent only a subset of what I feel and see in the wilderness, and the more 'art' oriented photographers (Misrach, Southam, Meyorwitz, Eggleston, Shore) fill in most of the gaps. A few small pieces of the jigsaw I have had to fill in myself.
One final plug: "The illustrated history of the countryside" by Oliver Rackham. Despite it's disposable coffee table title the text is by a serious professional botanist, and one who writes superbly. The photos are mostly by Tom Mackie, and are less gaudy than the velvia-fest postcard stuff on his website. This book taught me more about the landscape, and reasons to photograph it beyond the Romantic Sublime, than any purely photographic book.
PS: coigach, if you like the Swedish nature school, don't miss Hans Strand: more abstract than those you mention, but worthy company.
RE: Hans Strand - thanks for the heads-up, will go and find out more. (Any other recommendations appreciated, colour or b+w).
I agree with many of your points. I also think that a lot of landscape photography is quite limited in emotional range, and that colour photographers often fall into the 'velvia postcard' trap. Nice, but... beyond taking a technically well executed image of an attractive landscape, there seems little else going on.
A particular bugbear of mine is the kind of 'tourism' that many landscape photographers seem to do, a kind of 'greatest hits' approach. Get some visually pleasing images, say something vague about the need to preserve wild landscapes, then move on to the next spectacular landscape. Little attempt to wrestle with the history, people and contexts that shape (and continually re-shape) wild places, and to ponder in a meaningful way why wild places matter and what makes them special. Ironically I think this approach serves to undermine many of the ideals that landscape photographers expouse, as it (unintentionally) makes landscape into a commodity just like everything else.
This is possibly one of the reasons I am attracted to 'intimate landscapes', photos of landscape patterns and details. There is something quite liberating in not looking for the 'big view', and looking at small details that give different landscapes character and 'personality'. (I find the wonderful pictures in this vein by David Ward and Joe Cornish much more involving than their 'big view' stuff for example).
I like landscape work that helps evoke the 'sense' of a place and helps me use my imagination to relate to it. Something that evokes, but doesn't explain, work that keeps a sense of mystery...
Last edited by coigach; 08-20-2007 at 05:15 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: typo - I have crap typing skills...!
There is a nordic nature magazine, Camera Natura, which regularly showcases the work of the usual suspects. It's a good way of getting an overview of the current nature scene here. It's in Swedish, but the emphasis is on pictures, not words, so it would be worth a non-speaker browsing though. www.cameranatura.se. I haven't tried, but I would be astonished if the editorial team could not handle emails in English.
I see in colour, and prefer to photograph in colour, but my favourite landscape photographers all have done their most famous work in black and white. A short list: Ray Metzker, Fay Godwin, Emmet Gowin, Lee Friedlander, R.E. Meatyard, F. Sommers. For whatever reason, photographers working in colour don't (mostly) seem to have the same concerns.
For me, a central issue is what form can tell us about process. I don't want to turn all my photographs into lectures on ecology or geology, but I want them to be informed by a knowledge of such things. It may just represent my european background, but I find human interactions with the landscape and the way landscapes can be read as cultural or historical documents a fascinating topic - one which the Ineffable Sublime crowd prefer to ignore.
The swooning romantics just seem so *insincere*. Either that, or incapable of self-examination.