defining the undefinable

How does one approach landscape?

Looking at other photographers interpretation of this subject makes me believe there are numerous approaches. I asked my friends what they would photograph as a landscape and the responses were very typical: “flowers”, “mountains”, “waterfall”, “meadow”. However, browsing the work of Arno Minkinnen and Ray Metzker, a different type of landscape is revealed and explored. Minkinnen’s photographs have an obvious human presence that mirrors and compliments natural settings that typify “landscape.” In this way, landscape is a medium of portraiture, and the human body is displayed as a part of the environment. The body is even portrayed as a landscape itself. This approach challenges pre-conceived notions of sweeping panoramas of natural phenomenons. While Minkinnen’s photographs are striking and contrasty to be of interest to the viewer, I found the portrait aspect too staged for my liking. Human interaction with the environment is important though and worthy of exploration through photography.

Metzker also has an interesting approach to landscape, focusing on underbrush and tangles of disorderly growth that fill several dimensions. These photographs were the most unappealing to me because of its disorderly form and composition. My own approach to landscape reveals pattern and order within the supposed chaos of my environment. Landscape is not necessarily the panoramas that the Sound of Music may evoke, but extracting the sense of a place in a personal manner. Photographers as individuals interact with their environment in different ways, characterizing their approach to landscape and defining it as undefinable.

Does this answer the question?

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