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Old Jan 25, 2013, 12:11 PM   #26
zombiecakes
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The emerging aesthetic of the last decade is utterly unlike what we saw in the eighties and nineties (the age of Galen Rowell, et. al.)
I disagree, most of the pictures in the thread look like they are straight out of a Galen Rowell photo book (my favorite is #6 because its not like that, its use of whitespace and flatness goes against the typical composition). Some of them have a modern twist like messing with the curves but its still basically the same style. Just type in "landscape photography" in google and its like looking at stock photos, that style is so extremely popular that you cant tell the difference between photographers (not counting the amateur shots).

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Therefore, as I said above, perhaps it's time to give landscapes a pass on the requirement to feed the insatiable desire for novelty that the art world is so keen to perpetuate.
Thats fine but the question was asked if the art word has dismissed it. If landscape photography is going to be accepted back into the art world then something new needs to be done. As of now landscape photography kind of falls into the realm of photorealism, technically very impressive but dull, there will always be a lot of people that love photorealism and highly technical things but it wont be the "art world"

And by conceptual I meant mostly in technique, not message. Like exploring the simple geometric shapes in nature on a grand scale. Or something like what Georgia O'Keeffe did with flowers. Im sure all of this has been done and it may not be the answer, it takes the right movement to capture the art world and become a new style and its usually totally unexpected.

Last edited by zombiecakes; Jan 25, 2013 at 12:27 PM.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 08:27 AM   #27
Phrasikleia
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Originally Posted by zombiecakes View Post
I disagree, most of the pictures in the thread look like they are straight out of a Galen Rowell photo book (my favorite is #6 because its not like that, its use of whitespace and flatness goes against the typical composition). Some of them have a modern twist like messing with the curves but its still basically the same style. Just type in "landscape photography" in google and its like looking at stock photos, that style is so extremely popular that you cant tell the difference between photographers (not counting the amateur shots).


Thats fine but the question was asked if the art word has dismissed it. If landscape photography is going to be accepted back into the art world then something new needs to be done. As of now landscape photography kind of falls into the realm of photorealism, technically very impressive but dull, there will always be a lot of people that love photorealism and highly technical things but it wont be the "art world"

And by conceptual I meant mostly in technique, not message. Like exploring the simple geometric shapes in nature on a grand scale. Or something like what Georgia O'Keeffe did with flowers. Im sure all of this has been done and it may not be the answer, it takes the right movement to capture the art world and become a new style and its usually totally unexpected.
Sorry to have been unclear; I wasn't referring to the photos in this thread. I would agree with you about them for the most part, though several of them seem to exhibit some digital processing that disguises their 'analog' origins somewhat. You'll find a higher concentration of the more ambitious landscape photographers I had in mind on sites like 500px and 1x, though even there you'll have to look through a lot of more traditional shots to find the ones that are employing the new techniques I mentioned above.

Now it may be that you're quite familiar with those sites and ones like them, and that you still look at landscapes done in the "Grand Manner" these days and see them as a rather homogeneous lot based on content alone. After all, nature doesn't keep up with the latest fashions and technology, and even architecture changes rather slowly. So, unlike other genres of photography where people and objects caught in the frame help to keep things perpetually updated, landscape photography features environments that don't necessarily capture a particular era (and that's often the whole point of them).

Nonetheless, there is a growing trend in landscape photography right now that is embracing an approach that stands apart from the film era; the discerning eye won't mistake such images as products of an earlier time. Some people may dismiss them as merely looking "processed," but the end result often depends upon specialized capture techniques, many of which enable photographers to work with very challenging light and from unusual vantage points. A new school of landscape photography is emerging with a distinctive aesthetic, even if the content is essentially the same as what came before. I should add, however, that I don't think it's an entirely superficial development. The overarching message as I see it embodies a sort of ironic humanist mentality--a rejection of the cold objectivity often ascribed to the photographic process, in favor of emphasizing the human experience. It's ironic because of the high technology necessary to achieve the desired results and because of the about-face it makes with regards to the age-old tension between photography and painting. Ansel Adams famously shunned the 'lo-fi' techniques of the Pictorialist movement (which saw photographers purposefully smudging and blurring photos to imitate impasto) and embraced the potential of photographs to render a scene with prickly sharpness. Now we have photographers combining that sense of "photorealism" with colors, tonality, and selective editing (cloning, vignetting, etc.) borrowed from landscape painting of previous centuries. Even intentional blurriness has been reincarnated via very long exposures, rendering seas as flat expanses and clouds as sharp spikes in the sky--extreme stylizations that are not typical of the film era (though I know of several photographers working in this style today who are actually using film). There is a huge range of quality across the lot of course, but the cream that's rising to the top is plotting a good distance between now and the age of Galen Rowell.

Pasting some examples here would probably make my points clearer, but I don't want to turn this thread into a referendum on certain photographers. And I certainly don't want to discuss my own output, since these threads are never fun for me when they get personal. I'll just drop a few links and step away slowly: A, B, C, D. At any rate, I would just encourage anyone who is interested in this topic to think about the extent to which content can define a genre and how landscapes may present a unique case.
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