photographing the landscape merely a vain attempt at souveniring
something from the place?
Is it an act of superiority, trying to tame these wondrous surroundings? Could it be that we like to arrest life with photography, and in capturing a bit of the cosmos get temporary satisfaction of power over decay.
What about landscape as purely an arrangement of forms to delight the eye, the materials of artistry, for the artist's aesthetic imagination?
Or more importantly is that familiarizing process the beginnings of a deeper understanding of where our place is in the relation of things? A coming to terms with the place? Even a celebration? Perhaps the spirit of the land is calling one to respond.
I study the subject of landscape picture making, the traditions, the visions, the heroes - and continue to have a go at making some for myself, oft wondering whence comes the drive to keep at it - and the function landscape pictures have in our culture.
I allow myself to be drawn to landscapes and sometimes I feel like Luke Skywalker, with an accompanying life-support vehicle, on the Desert Barrier Range, remote.
I love being out in it, immersed, involved with photographic possibilities, with my individual point of view, personal but shareable - essentially interactive with others.
The interacting elements of this place - me here - this time could be made explicit in some photography here. Cloud shadows are racing across grassy hillsides. The light is looking great.
Here is a subject I now have a fix on, or it has a fix on me, and the light is changing quickly. It might not be so good in a minute. This is a scene the landscape photographer must rise to. It will add to the landscape genre.
What this picture probably won't show is the urgency and compulsion I feel now this potential photograph has become important to me. How quickly can I get the camera in position?
The ancient wisdom comes to mind: 'He who acts defeats his own purpose'.
But still calculating the permutations and the circumstances I'm on the run, with the elements in a state of flux.
Self-esteem demanding: For the picture! For the glory! (Ego-computer records motive: vanity/whim).
I'm going for it. This is photography. Astride the wire avoiding the barbs.
exactly to place the camera?
Did I replace it automatically without thinking? I think I had it in my hand for the exposure.
Light's still there. Try another one? No. That's it. Too bad if its a blank frame.
I've turned my back on it and now what's important is to be here, responses open, and perhaps something will come of the experience.
Buffeting wind, stubble and rocky ground. Light rain prickling furrowed brow.
Tripod and camera askance over my shoulder.
Maybe I could enjoy the place more without trying to take a photograph. Although doing this sort of thing gives me continuity and some sense of purpose. In some ways it satisfies.
Especially if an exciting picture comes of it. Can't wait to process the film and see that image.
That's something to look forward to.
The most exciting pictures are still in the camera.
Text from NGA Room brochure