I have been reading John Blakemore’s classic work Black and White Photography Workshop. Whilst I am unlikely to use the great advice on darkroom practice and traditional printing, the book contains much of interest. I plan to post my thoughts on his ideas after I have seen his retrospective exhibition showing in London – it finishes tomorrow so I need to be quick.
Reading this book and my recent Large Format Photography workshop has prompted me to think again about my approach to landscape photography. My landscape work lacks a sense of purpose!! This exerpt from an overview of a recent contemporary landscape photography exhibition neatly summarises my unease about my work thus far….
Landscape photography is one of those ‘branches’ of photography which is so appealing to the picture buying public that it has become associated with the sort of bland scenes that you might find on the walls of a hotel; pseudo-dramas with dense clouds and misty water. It has become a victim of the rule of thirds and a pictorial orthodoxy for epic large scale scenery featuring superfluous foreground objects in sharp focus shot for little else than as a gratuitous display of its author’s technical prowess.
My landscape work needs a stronger conceptual grounding….just what is it that I am trying to say??…or am I just in the business of producing eye candy!! I have a strong feeling that my work should be based on series each addressing a particular theme. For example I am interesting in exploring the effects of post industrialisation on my old town of Doncaster, which in former days was a centre for mining, railways and steel – now sadly all replaced by retail warehouses, call centres and warehousing. My OCA studies of Fay Godwin’s later work is still influencing my thinking….