Too many posts to read them all, but I am about to start a new body of work in the littoral zone
Thinking about the project this morning I remembered my sole duty is to my subject as light modulator - Light modulator in the L Moholy-Nagy 1947 exercise way, just a lot bigger and disclosing the subject as simply and honestly as possible, without any clever FIG JAM bullshit added - Getting older has it good side as well
(FIG JAM = Phuq I'm good, just ask me)
I'm likely being insufferably old-fashioned to bring this up: computer monitors are quite limited in their capacity to display, to really show, the essence of a photographic print... they are certainly adequate for studying composition, but never the same as seeing it in person. If I were your tutor I would insist that you get out to galleries and study work that is hanging; it does make a difference, or should.
Prints that I have seen recently that show the vast difference between a real print and facsimiles:
a series of prints of Moonrise, Hernandez that AA printed across several decades--very different interpretations of the same negative;
A series of prints from Life magazine;
Anything by Chris Burkett -- nothing compares to a Cibachrome print (obligatory contemporary content);
Really large format prints by Richard Fenker (http://richardfenker.com/).
I have a question, after looking at some (won't say which) of the contemporary work listed above. Are you using some definition besides "currently working" for "contemporary"? As in, there is some type of scale of development of photography as art that places later artists in a more advanced state? I ask, because I see a lot of work there that is stark, and just plain ugly, in the sense that it's not pretty and has no essential statement that communicates to the average observer. To me, that is the fallacy of much of "modern art", insisting that a viewer be privy to a secret code to interpret a work that has no other aesthetic reason for existence.
A bit more than you asked for, I'm sure, but hopefully seed for thought. Art needs no further reason.
And, of course, all the contemporary photography sites listed below each message are worth looking at... ;)
I think this is important perhaps for the connoisseurs and general photography lovers, more than practicing photographers. Learning this visual language, absorbing plenty of books and images on screen is much more important than seeing a print in a gallery. Do you have to dine out at fine restaurants to become a great chef? A gallery also doesn't allow adequate time, space or solitude to really immerse yourself in a print. Buying an original photograph might be the better option for studying and using as a printing reference. I think galleries and exhibitions offer a certain amount of inspiration and motivation, but little in terms of really developing your art - which is about self-motivation, less indulging in the work of others.
Originally Posted by Dr. no
The photographer the OP linked to as an example is the type of work that, in my mind, inspires amateurs because of the apparent passiveness. Photographers are, after all, inherently lazy! :p
Originally Posted by Dr. no
"Haven't got the strength to pick up a paint brush?"
As somebody who tends to over-analyze my image making, having been lured into the casually observed/overcast sky/colour negative aesthetic, I'm honest enough to admit that it was a cop out. I'm convinced that a lot of these photographers once had real ambition and perhaps even gave up on a pictorialist approach, in favour of the trendy and much celebrated route of pseudo-intellectual appearences. Without being too ponderous, I think the reason this aesthetic is everywhere at the moment has something to do with the ostracized individual (who are instantly labelled freaks, mass murderers and pedophiles in contemporary society). You know, the people working away in obscurity who we don't hear about until they've gone. Got a feeling we'll be seeing MANY more of them in the future.
It's a very conservative style with a high profile and affluent in-crowd. In our now habitual, networking oriented way, it's very easy to get caught up in it all - disregarding personal expression. Speaking personally. So long as we're obsessed with social acceptance in this way, art will suffer and I think it definitely is.
David Maisel has done some amazing work with aerial photography (a form of landscape in a way!) in addition to the rest of his work which is worth checking out.
If you don't mind crossing to the DPUG, the work of Isabelle Hayeur, her series Excavations in particular, is really worth checking. You can find some images online.
If you want to go really off the beaten track, look for a copy of Jeff Wall's "Landscape Manual" via your university or local library (you'll need to inter-library loan it). It's rather old (1970), but as far as radical looks at landscape go, it takes the biscuit.