All cultures have their persisting narratives. These can be historical events, legends and myths or all three together. Cesar’s death, the siege of Troy, the Arthur legends and the stories from scripture are such examples in the West. Together they form an important part of the cultural package that is forwarded from generation to generation. Even if we don’t always realize it, they are a part of us. Any meaningful dialog between people requires that the respective narratives are recognized and hopefully even understood.
These narratives often pop-up as recurring themes in the arts whereby they are transformed and sometimes used as commentary to current events. One such theme in East Asia is the Eight Views. In strange ways I have been stumbling over this theme from time to time and it is one that touches me. Let me explain…
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Time is an essential parameter in photography. It can be looked at from a technical or physical, an aesthetic or even a philosophical point of view. Photography (and painting) is also different from other arts in that once it is produced, it doesn’t have an intrinsic duration. In contrast, a movie, a piece of music, a ballet or a play all unfold in time and do have a duration. But in the process of making a photograph, the photographer has to make decisions regarding time and these decisions reflect upon his or her intentions. This series of posts will first look at these different aspects of time in photography. In addition it will visit the topic of time as a subject of photography, which means: “Can we photograph time?”.
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In a recent article called A Disturbing Trend in Photography the photographer and educator Neal Rantoul identifies a trend in photography, where the picture seems overwhelmed by the textual narrative surrounding it. In Rantoul words:
For most works [in recent portfolio reviews], separate the photographs from the words and you have no ability to comprehend what is going on.
He comes to the conclusion that:
This resides perilously close to using the photographs as illustrations, really another field entirely.
Continue reading “Context – About this Blog”
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
Henry David Thoreau
Many photographers describe their photographic journey as a lifelong passion for photography. I can’t claim such a history but came to photography relatively late in my life. My interest for it awoke through the nature of Finland.
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Why Landscape Art?
Humans have for at least three thousand years depicted landscapes. First in drawings and paintings and, since the 19th century, also in photographs. What do we find attractive in landscapes that compels us to continue this practice?
What we see is that, with the digital revolution in photography, the depiction of landscapes has not only continued, but exploded. Any image search for famous landmarks on the internet turns up thousands of pictures taken by amateurs and professional photographers alike.
In the light of environmental concern and the need to rethink our relation to nature, one can ask whether this visual overload is helpful or not. Does it show our continued connection to the beauty of this planet, or are we promoting a mindset that turns nature into a form of amusement park? In this context, also landscape artists in general and landscape photographers in particular have to define their role. Is landscape photography only a form of home decoration, or can it still be “art”, enriching people’s lives through meaning – and what kind of meaning could that be?
This article is an inquiry into an answer. It’s starting point is the question, why we might find landscapes beautiful and attractive in the first place.
Continue reading “Landscape and Beauty”