A month or so and I end up reading a discussion on favorite landscape photographers. One guy that was mentioned in the discussion was Charlie Waite. It was also quickly added by the poster that the quality of his work might not be so noticeable at first. So I took a quick look and my first impression was kind of like:
'Nice but it looks like another dentist with a camera who doesn't even know the golden hour. Bit boring' .... and I moved on to more Lik-like stuff.
Then, a while back I was given a book called "Besser Fotografieren" by George Barr as a gift. I didn't take too much note of it for a while because the pages weren't filled with those awe inspiring images dripping with saturation and vista.
But one afternoon I picked up the thing and lazily browsed through it. Can't understand a single word that's written (German) but from about page 30 onward I started realizing I have GOLD in my hands. This guy is a photographer of another breed. No garish images, nothing but plain dull and beautiful images. He's compositions feels strongly meditative and in perfect composure. He sees in nature what I, at the moment, can only aspire to.
Stepping forward again for some time I ended up at Waite's Gallery once more. And this time I sat up and took note. He plays with light, texture, form and space in so many ways it thrills me! And there is some overlap with Barr in the way their thoughts and way of looking at nature influences their work. And this lead me to more of the same amazing but sometimes 'dull' and exquisite work from photographers like:
Not all of their work is dull of course. Wolcott has some beautiful saturated images but they are not trying to get attention down the Las Vegas Strip. I would like to mention David Fokos as well, he's work is powerful and VERY thoughtful.
The thing that originally got me posted here was that I came upon quite a number of landscape photographers lately (actually a lot) that have about 2-5 years experience and they churn out stunning saturated vistas and scapes images week by week. Some even brag about the fact that they are self taught from the internet. I have no problem with that but it seems we have a brilliant working formula for achieving great results and it's saturating the market (pun intended). Maybe I'm a bit old fashioned in that I believe you don't pick up a brush or pencil and in 2 years animate for Disney or paint a Rembrandt. I mean, if creating landscape photographs is like running some sweet factory then it's not the product it's how you market it. So where is the value? Where is the art?
When I started photography these were the images I bookmarked or saved into a folder for inspiration. But the scary part about this (and I didn't really thought about it back then) is how much worth is there to these photographs if all you need is:
- Free time and cash for travel to get you to the best spots in the world (or in your country)
- There are a gazillion websites blogging about making you a better landscape photographer. Textbook methods that guarantees stunning results - and they do.
- We have RAW and Photoshop to fill in the gaps.
I am sure there are a lot of amateur weekend landscape photographers here that with enough time and money could rival some of the more famous personalities (and have).
My first wedding shoot was a nerve wrecking experience and I have the utmost respect for these photographers. When you still have the ability to perform creatively under horrible lightening conditions and time pressures it's amazing. But landscape photography? I dunno. If it wasn't for the above mentioned few photographers I would have thought that landscape photography depends a LOT (70%) on your money and travel constraints, oh and the saturation slider.
What are your thoughts about this? I'd really like to know.
And also, if you have any other photographers with dull and beautiful images (let's rather call it artistic landscapes) to share, please do!!
Thanks for your time!