Landscape photography: a form of art that allows us to express ourselves. Part 1
We love the wonders of nature. We chose photography to express ourselves and share the emotions we feel when we contemplate nature. For this purpose, we practice three distinct types of photography: underwater, wildlife and landscape. It is this last one which offers us the most ways to express ourselves and use art to show what we truly are.
Two definitions of art which we use in our work
It is very difficult to define art. Many philosophers have tried, and they have produced an impressive number of definitions. We chose the two which are most useful to us.
The first one we picked because is more formal. It is from a dictionary, and states, "Art is creating objects or representing specific scenes in order to produce in humans a particular state of sensitivity, more or less related to aesthetic pleasure."
The second, less formal, definition that we always have in mind, is that of the artist Gwenn Seemel: "Art always causes a change, large or small, personal or universal. This is its value, its purpose, its goal and its complete definition."
Landscape photography expresses our emotions best
Comparing the three fields in which we participate as professional photographers is useless. They are too different. Each one gives us unique joys, sensations and emotions. However, landscape photography is the one which allows us to express ourselves most fully.
Underwater photography and wildlife photography also allow us to create beautiful art, but they are much more random. Dive time is very limited, and animals are unpredictable.
When we photograph landscapes, we can create pictures that express our true nature and emotions. We can choose a place with soft, dim lighting to evoke nostalgia or melancholy. Or, if we are happy and want to share our joy, we will move towards mineral landscapes with warm tones bathed in the rich, golden light of a sunrise or sunset. If we are going through a difficult period, we go to the woods for inspiration, and our photos show beautiful canopies, and bright light filtered through branches and leaves.
We could give hundreds of other examples.
Landscape photography allows us to express how we feel and what we have in mind. If we take, for instance, underwater photography, it is not very easy to show melancholy through a portrait of a fish or the atmosphere of a drop-off covered with soft corals. When we photograph a bird, or a red deer during the rutting season, it is difficult to show our intense joy through the photograph, even though we love wildlife photography.
The three components of a photograph
We often say that a photograph has three components: the subject, the environment, and the lighting. They are the basis of all photography. If one element is missing, the picture will be uninteresting. During our career, we have often heard people say that photography is “all about light”. However, as we have matured and gained experience as photographers, we have learned that there has to be an equal emphasis on all three of these elements. Light by itself, crucial as it is, does not make a good photo.
We will always hold to the idea that a fine photograph combines all three of the elements mentioned above.
What is the subject in a landscape picture?
In wildlife photography, whether on land or under water, it is quite easy to see the subject: it is either an animal or a fish. The background is constituted by its environment, which is called negative space. The lighting enhances and highlights the background and the subject.
In landscape photography, it is easy to see the environment and the lighting. The subject, however, is sometimes more difficult to define. What is the subject in a photograph of a sea of clouds from the top of a mountain? Where is the subject in a photograph of a path in the woods? It is not always necessary to place a rock or tree in a photo to give it a subject. This is where landscape photography differs from the other styles most. In landscape photography, you can photograph a scene without having an obvious subject.
In most of our landscape photographs, the subject is the emotion that we are trying to capture. It is intangible, invisible. We believe that a landscape photograph must be able to elicit the emotion we felt when we saw the scene in the person who looks at it. The subject of the photo, in this case, does not come only from the picture, but also from how it is perceived.