Lets go backward and bear with me.
Maybe it portrays beauty, serenity, ruggedness of nature, The ever changing scene. Maybe it conveys the wonderment of not knowing what is just beyond the trees, or it could be the joy of a destination or the start of a new journey. Maybe the meaning is the absence of thought and the enjoyment of being.When the whole of a contrived and oft duplicated scenic composition is presented, beyond the actual location and technical matters...what meaning does the image convey?
Your really big bold letters do not answer my question. What questions do you want asked? And what questions do these pretty pictures not ask or answer, and why is it necessary? How do they not make someone think? Or do you mean they do not make you think? Before you say "they have already been done and we see them everywhere" stop to ask yourself how many windows have been shot through and portrayed in an abstract fashion? I am looking for specifics. You ask if people are afraid to think, I am asking what are we supposed to think about? If we are supposed to think about the meaning of life then why can't I, or someone else, do it while looking at a stream with trees and rocks.
I remember hearing somewhere that life death and all that happens between can be seen in one blade of grass. One blade of grass, one tree, one valley, one scene of streaked plaster with a broken window framing another window, what is the difference? What all important questions can be asked or answered in the latter and not the former or those inbetween? Not having seen the photos in question I cannot say for sure but isn't a shot through a window an "oft duplicated composition." In many ways that type of composition can be considered much more generic because it has no specific place, or time, it could be anywhere.
It would take a really big camera and unbeleivabley wide lens to take the whole of a scene. The curvature of the earth and big mountains would make things problemeatic as well. There is always going to be something unseen outside of the frame. by definition, as has been said before, every photograph is an abstraction of reality. A BW photograph is even more abstract because it removes the familiarity of color from the scene. It forces the viewer to see the texture, the parts.
I cannot imagine why trying to emulate the masters is a problem. You did not learn to walk and talk without emulating the masters. What is the problem with learning landscape photography this way? Isn't that why photo workshops exist? Watch a young child. They walk like the parent they have the closest relationship to. As they grow they step away from their parents and have their own walk. There may linger a hint of that master's style but the walk has become theirs. This is true of photographers as well.I probably give the abstract more importance in this particular discussion because the "pretty picture", if I am being honest, arose out of a desire to emulate the work of other landscape photographers. The second image depicts a streaked plaster wall with a window opening that frames another window opening. This image occured during a period of immense personal struggle in my life. I would say that out of this struggle and the angst of that time that this image is more genuinely arising from myself. Thus I feel that I have a valid position from which to draw a personal comparison and also to draw a comparison of the interests of other viewers.
Yes YOU have a valid reason to draw a personal comparison, and you have a reason to compare the interests of the viewers. But You are not WE. The Author of the photo has no control over the baggage, or lack of baggage the reader/viewer of the photo brings with them to the photograph. You find much more importance in the window picture because as you say it is most representative of coming from the real you. Could it be that the viewer just saw a window, some messed up plaster and nothing to provoke thought what so ever because they had nothing of importance to tie to it.
Could it have been that the stream was more familiar to a person and thus they could attach meaning to it. Maybe a fond memory, or the memory of a bad time. Maybe they were hiking along and found their significant other in the arms another person in a scene such as your rocks and stream? Could it be that the familiar sparks an emotion and is not necessarily a thought, or an earth shattering revelation, but just as important. It is possible to view a piece of art without using your brain. Sometimes it is preferable.
I have no problem with you posting this thread, I never said I did. I was saying that you obviously did not post them to say Pretyy pictures suck and abstract thinking pictures don't. You did not say "see, here is a sucky picture and here is a good one. This is why the good one is good. You are obviously deeper than that. Sorry if I was not clear.