Photography – A Beginner’s Guide – Landscape Photography [Lois Connor] – An article by Goff James

Welcome followers and visitors to my blog and another update in my photography Beginner’s Guide to Photography.

This week I will be talking another look at Landscape Photography and looking at an image by Lois Connor.

As I have stated in previous articles one can learn so much about photography by looking at; and, talking about other photographers’ work.

Landscape Photography may be defined as;

  • portraying spaces within the world, that can be both panoramic as well as being microscopic.
  • attempting to capture the presence of nature but can also focus on man-made urban-space or disturbances of landscapes.
  • possessing both a reflective and deductive process,
  • recalling observations or experiences
  • making a connection with the viewer through a purposeful detailed pictorial narrative that preserves a single moment in time,
  • making choices as to what to include or exclude, bringing ones own personal perspective to a particular scene and best represents ones creative vision.
  • sharing the emotional connections that come with the created image.
  • reminding one of the connections between individuals and the land whether it be the natural or the urban landscape devoid of human interference or as the result of human intervention.

Many landscape photographs show little or no human activity and are created in the pursuit of a pure, unsullied depiction of nature, devoid of human influence—instead featuring subjects such as strongly defined landforms, weather, and ambient light.[1][2]

[1] Ellement, Brad (U.K.) “Featured Artist: Brad Ellement”, Landscape Photography Magazine, 2014 Edition (“The Big Free Edition”), p.56

[2] Mary Warner Marien (2006). Photography: A Cultural History. Laurence King Publishing. Page 136.

As with most forms of art, the definition of a landscape photograph is broad and may include rural or urban settings, industrial areas or nature photography.[3][4]

[3] Waite, Charlie with interviewer Keith Wilson, “In Conversation… Charlie Waite”, Landscape Photography Magazine, 2014 Edition(“The Big Free Edition”), p.120

[4] Purdue Univ., “Nature and Landscape Photography”, from ”Visualizing Nature: Promoting Public Understanding and Appreciation of Nature, [Department of] Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, retrieved October 4, 2015.

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Lois Connor, I.M. Pei’s Bank of China, Beijing: Contemporary and Imperial,

The black and white image which Lois Connor provocatively confronts the viewer with is a design composed of a miscellany of various sharp edged geometrical shapes, horizontal and vertical piercing lines which crowd and obliterate a polluted skyline and spread across the entire frame.

It is both an awe-inspiring and unsettling image.

The panoramic view with its wide angled perspective and shallow depth of field creates a skeletal cubist fragmentation of the numerous spatial planes within the image – an abstraction of reality stripped to its very minimalist features and structures.

Yet these very structures create a sense of flow and rhythmic movement.

The main area of focus, and that which dominates the whole image, is centred upon the skeletal structure which spans almost entirely two thirds of the composition from bottom left and left of frame.

The stark central girder of the building acts a the primary leading line which leads the viewer directly into the heart of the image and out into the blurred distant urban landscape beyond.

The diffused tonal qualities present a surreal view of an urban landscape in the process of construction being transformed and emerging from some primordial mist that envelopes the whole scene.

The precarious height from which the image was taken is unnerving in itself but is imbued with the natural lighting which comes from behind and above the photographer.

The contrasting dark shadows adds another level of complexity to the composition. The literal stark contrast of black and white within the image echoes the figuratively stark contrasts depicted.

The image captures the stark reality of place through the presence of an almost menacing atmospheric quality.

The work possesses a sense of powerful energy and activity that is menacingly apocalyptic.

The traumatic process of transition is beautifully portrayed in the image and counterpointed by the manner in which the photographer creates within, an unpromising scenario, a subtle sense of calmness and composure that transcends a difficult situation.

The composition seduces the viewer into perusing each meticulously-rendered detail along the subconsciously defined pathways within.

As the viewer’s eye is led along these leading lines, across the image, one is drawn ever more into the portrayal of a very human story where the human forms almost unseen slowly reveal themselves from behind the canted angles and smooth empty planes.

An emerging metropolis is viewed as a tumultuous space undergoing destruction and rebirth.

The image portrays an emerging urban landscape as a permanent construction site subjugating all that surrounds it with concrete and metal girders.

All sense of tranquility and the sense of the sublime removed. A scene stripped naked to its very bones where as the very title of the image implies money and consumerism are king.

Where life itself is being blighted by economic progress and government decree.

The symbolic significance of the image, where individual aspirations and beliefs are viewed as a threat to a society, is made crystal clear.

I trust that you find some of these ideas useful within the context of your own photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment and allow different ideas to develop as you go along.

Remember what I referred to in previous articles about taking photos and creating photograms; the same applies to considering your own photos, other photographers’ work as well as applying different artist’s ideas too.

Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!

Remember there are no right or wrong answers or ways of doing it.

Your photographs are your world.

You can do what you like. 

Don’t worry about the theory and trying to remember everything about how to take or consider how to look at or stage a photograph.

Don’t worry about what you might think is right or wrong in talking about or taking photographs.

 Make mistakes. Laugh. Have funJust enjoy the process.

Happy Photography. 

Thank you for your visit.

Art Photography Poetry

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