Traditionally we understand the term ‘ruthless’ as being without pity or compassion; a lack of care for the feelings of others. Many years ago I was introduced to another , less loaded, connotation. That being to do what needed doing quickly and effectively without any prevarication, self doubt or any self indulgent angst. It presupposed of course that the act was indeed necessary.
The Dutch have a word for it…. Landschapspijn — literally “landscape-pain”, “place-pain” (Dutch); the distress that comes from seeing familiar habitats or ecosystems degraded and depleted. This popped up on Twitter as Rob Macfarlane’s Word of the Day last week. (If you don’t follow, Rob, you should.) There is a painful symmetry here as it was also the Dutch who gave landscape photographers and painters the word ‘Landscape’. They named the beginning and foresaw the end of what we do. I’ve written before (here) about our responsibility to minimise the damage that we ourselves cause. Those arguments don’t need to be repeated here. Last week a number of interrelated events coincided.
I enjoy creating intimate landscapes immensely, those small scenes that comprise found objects and arrangements. The better the end product however, the more likely it is to precipitate the range of questions to do with asking or suggesting that the items had been placed or rearranged. The questions range from pure inquisitiveness to peevishness and those that are no less than accusatory and derogatory by implication.
I hope the length of this piece doesn’t imply it is anything more than it is. In the same way that language enables thinking, for me, writing enables me to organise my thoughts. I’ve just been having a bit of a think, nothing more. Two major outcomes have emerged in the past 20 years for Landscape Photography, largely I would suggest, as a direct result of the emergence of the internet, the growth of Social Media and the advent of Digital Photography. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people enjoying the process of making Landscape (as opposed to holiday) Images. It has become substantially easier to discover locations in which such images can be made.
Landscape Photographic icons – should we follow the tracks or should we avoid them? The first and most pertinent answer in my opinion is that we ought first remove the use of the word ‘should’. The photographic ‘written word, whether it be books, blogs, forum posts, is far too full of advice telling us what we ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do.
I tend not to wait for New Year to make resolutions but the period of calm between Christmas and the end of the year provides a perfect opportunity to reflect and make decisions. Some of those decisions are appropriate to share, others not. This one is public. I’ve decided to keep a sketch book this year
Many people are interested in the use of Neutral Density Filters for long exposure photography. The most popular is the Lee Big Stopper but others from Firecrest have appeared at the top end while the cheaper end of the market is well populated. I thought it would be interesting to try a direct comparison between three alternatives:
A new batch of prints have just arrived from Paul Grundy. There are those would would argue that you haven’t created a photograph until you have printed it. I’m not sure I agree to that extreme view but I would argue that if you print your photograph to a high quality, there is a huge added dimension to it. I print small copies at home but for anything bigger that A4 I send them to Paul Grundy at UKV.
Just before the end of 2013, I bit the bullet and ditched all my Nikon DX kit in favour of a nice shiny Fuji X-Pro 1. This leaves me with the Nikon FX setup (back of cupboard in the really huge/heavy bag..) compact cameras and the Fuji. The Fuji has the 14mm/18mm/35mm and 18-55mm lenses. All seem good but I’m not yet sure which are functionally redundant or whether all will stay.