Quote Originally Posted by colrehogan
How do you put emotion & feeling into a landscape (e.g. get the viewer to empathize with the shot)? I asked a somewhat related question on the f32 site and it led me to this question.
I think first you need to identify the emotion that is present in you from your observation of the landscape. This is an internal evaluation - "what am I feeling?". Then you should determine what about landscape is presenting that emotion to you. Is an abandoned, rusted bicycle conveying a feeling of loss, or tragedy? Is a budding flower filling you with hope and renewal? Is a rock formation filling you with awe?

I believe once you understand the emotion inside you, and the external elements that created that emotion, you can then develop composition, lighting, processing, etc. that can allow those elements to convey the same emotion to a later viewer.

If the emotion you seek in the final image is not the result of elements in the image, but is instead baggage you brought with you before you pulled out your camera, then the image as captured may be a disapointment to you. That is, unless you plan to artificially add emotional elements in later processing. For example, you might dramatically increase contrast beyond what was in the captured image, to convey a harshness that was not reality. Or you might choose to shoot the scene with IR film to create mystery. Or you might print using an alternate process that gives it a historic feel. The possibilities are endless.

I think this is all about previsualization - not just of the composition, but of the finished product.

Perhaps sculpture is a good model. They say the statue is already present in the stone, and the sculptor merely removes the unnecessary rock. Similarly, by composing, focusing (or defocusing), dodging, burning, toning, etc., you are removing the elements of the raw scene that detract from your vision.

Well, just my two cents, anyway...

-chuck