Random Sights and Diversions

Photography Media Reviews Commentary

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What I’m Reading … Landmark: The Fields of Landscape Photography

If you like landscape photography as I do, this new book by William Ewing, Landmark: The Fields of Landscape Photography, should be a very rewarding and stimulating read. Ewing surveys the current state of landscape photography. More than 230 images are included by 100 photographers. Most of the images have been produced since 2000.

Ewing positions current landscape photography in ten theme areas: Sublime; Pastoral; Artefacts; Rupture; Playground; Scar; Control; Enigma; Hallucination; and Reverie. By and large, the photographers whose work Ewing presents are most interested in the lived-in landscape, the landscape as altered and inhabited by humans, and the images brilliantly portray the landscape as a subject for human reflection, imagination, play, recreation, inspiration, or – sadly – exploitation.

It is impossible to read this book and not see landscape photography as a vital and fertile area for many of the best contemporary photographers.

landmark

 

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Sebastaio Salgado: “The Salt of the Earth”

“The Salt of the Earth” is a new documentary film about Sebastaio Salgado.

If you have been following this blog, you may recall that I wrote very enthusiastically about Sebastaio Salgado, the brilliant Brazilian/French photographer whose black-and-white images of lands, nature, and peoples around the world have created a remarkably moving vision of humanity and Earth and all of the Earth’s creatures. Salgado’s most recent book, Genesis, is a magnificent record of his travels to some of the most remote lands, documenting the beauty of the planet.

The New York Times “Lens Blog” is featuring an interview with Salgado that makes for great reading. We get Salgado’s reflections on how he got into photography, his views about photography and art, the importance of photography, and a host of other insights.

The interview comes on the occasion of the imminent release in theaters of “The Salt of the Earth,” a documentary film on Salgado’s life and work, coproduced by the German director Wim Wenders and Mr. Salgado’s son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. Here is a trailer for the film.

“Salt of the Earth” is being released by Sony. There are galleries and much more here.

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Hong Son Doong (reposted)

(Link to video corrected.)  I have in the past posted links to videos, particularly videos featuring exceptional outdoor and nature photography. It has been a while since any posts. I recently came across this extraordinary video shot largely with drones, in HD resolution, in what is sometimes considered the world’s largest cave, Hang Son Doong in Vietnam. (Make sure HD is on and watch fullscreen.)

This video was shot by Ryan Deboodt (click for Ryan’s website), who has apparently been filming in this area for a while. The photography and cinematography is excellent. The images of the cave are mind-boggling, but the views of all the flora are just beautiful. I was particularly impressed by the views which show (tiny) people exploring the cave, which helps to define the awesome scale of the place. With the added music, the video (about 6 min) is very relaxing.

Here is a terrific website about the Hong Son Doong cave with a wealth of information and information. Ryan Deboodt’s website features extraordinary still photography from the cave.

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Hong Son Doong

I have in the past posted links to videos, particularly videos featuring exceptional outdoor and nature photography. It has been a while since any posts. I recently came across this extraordinary video shot largely with drones, in HD resolution, in what is sometimes considered the world’s largest cave, Hang Son Doong in Vietnam. (Make sure HD is on and watch fullscreen.)

This video was shot by Ryan Deboodt (click for Ryan’s website), who has apparently been filming in this area for a while. The photography and cinematography is excellent. The images of the cave are mind-boggling, but the views of all the flora are just beautiful. I was particularly impressed by the views which show (tiny) people exploring the cave, which helps to define the awesome scale of the place. With the added music, the video (about 6 min) is very relaxing.

Here is a terrific website about the Hong Son Doong cave with a wealth of information and information. Ryan Deboodt’s website features extraordinary still photography from the cave.

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Guy Tal: “More Than a Rock”

Castle Gates. Guy Tal. Copyright Guy Tal.

Castle Gates. Guy Tal. Copyright Guy Tal.

Guy Tal (website here) is a wonderful landscape photographer with a thoughtful and deeply felt sense of his philosophy and mission as a maker of landscape images. In the current issue of Lens Work (online here, subscription required), I came across an article by Guy Tal with images from his latest book, “More Than a Rock.” Inspired by Edward Weston’s comment about the photographer’s aim “to photograph a rock, have it look like a rock, but have it be more than a rock” (a sentiment I agree wholeheartedly with), Tal’s book features a great collection of essays about the land and photographing landscapes. The book also includes many excellent images. “More Than a Rock can be obtained from Guy Tal’s website (books page, here), available in both iBook and more general PDF formats. The price is remarkably low for such a quality work.  I think I had come across Mr. Tal’s work earlier, but only now had the More Than a Rockoccasion to delve into his website and to download his new book. In addition to large portfolios of images, very well reproduced online, Tal’s website includes a blog with regular commentary and reflections on photography, nature, the land, and life. Website and book are strongly recommended.

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Alfred Stieglitz and The Photo Secession

The images I’ve been producing lately, featuring an antiqued tinted look achieved entirely through post-capture processing – remind one of the Photo Secessionists. Indeed, I’m striving somewhat intentionally at least partly in that direction.


Camera Work

Camera Work

The Photo Secession, a movement during the early years of the 20th Century, takes its name from a photography exhibition that was organized and led by Alfred Stieglitz. [NY Met Museum: Alfred Stieglitz and American Photography, and Alfred Stieglitz and His Circle. Also see  Edward Steichen and the Photo Secession Years]. Stieglitz selected the photographers whose work would appear in the show. The Photo Secession show drew a tremendous amount of critical and popular attention at the time. Subsequently, in his work and in the pages of the magazine he founded, Camera Work, Stieglitz became the clear leader and most noted of the “photo secessionists.”

Alfred Steiglitz - Spring Showers.

Alfred Stieglitz – Spring Showers.

The photo secessionists reacted against the highly formal and posed photography being produced in Europe during the late 19th Century. Photography then was not only formal and stilted but highly representational and documentary. Rarely was photography viewed as art. Stieglitz and the photosecessionists, however, argued for more pictorial works and said that a photographic work should be perceived and appreciated primarily as an expressionistic work of art by the photographer.

Alfred Steiglitz - Venetian Canal.

Alfred Stieglitz – Venetian Canal.

The work favored by the photosecessionists was usually characterized by more natural scenes and soft focus. Steiglitz suggested photographs should be more like paintings. Photographers carried out extensive post-capture processing in the darkroom to achieve highly manipulated images with the desired tone and texture. For the photo secessionists, the subject of an image was less important than the photographer’s processing and manipulation. It was most important that the photographic image realize the photographer’s personal vision, thus turning what had previously been an almost entirely documentary medium into an art form.

Georgia O'Keeffe - Alfred Steiglitz.

Georgia O’Keeffe – Alfred Stieglitz. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Amazon: Stieglitz and the Photo Secession.

Edward Steichen - The Pond: Moonrise.

Edward Steichen – The Pond: Moonrise. Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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