Landscape photography dead end

Posted By on Jul 20, 2022

If you have been interested in landscape photography for some years, you may notice that most photographers who do it thoughtfully and regularly do it more or less the same way. To be honest, there’s no significant difference in their works. If we look at the winners of photo contests on such web platforms as Viewbug or 35 Awards, we can hardly tell why this photographer is a winner and that isn’t. The top 100 of them do the same – perfectly balanced, professionally processed images of beautiful places while great light. Simply put, postcards. It became a standard in landscape photography quite a while ago. (And I think that’s the reason why Sony Award trying so hard to distance oneself from that.)

I recently listened to a podcast with one of the lead landscape photographers in Russia. Among others, he said a very important and truly thing: everyone now knows how to shoot and process, a good photograph is mainly the question of luck.

To my mind, that’s a dead end. Ansel taught us all many years ago what is good in landscape imagery. And we have learned the lesson. It’s time to do something more.

Some photographers invented their systems of taking a good photograph. They even converted it to a simple scheme. The set of algorithms: try to combine shapes, lines, the rule of thirds, and light, and you’ll get a good image. But wait! Where’s the creativity, I want to ask?

Human life isn’t enough to visit all the places on our planet. Nature offers us an infinite variety of plots. Also, we have such characteristics as area, spot, season, weather, time of the day, foreshortening, focal length, the height of shooting, depth of field, type of processing, coloured or monochrome, contrasty or not, filters, infrared, and so on, and so forth! The one who said that everything in the world is already photographed just has a poorly imagination and a lack of experience.

So, why do most of us do postcards, not photography? I bold to suppose because it’s easier. It’s much easier to learn the processing technique and basic “rules” of composition because there are plenty of different tutorials on the Internet, and a massive part of them are free. And then get likes on Instagram, tons of rave comments on Facebook, and winnings in out-of-town photo contests.

The other way, the path of many-year practice, eternal search, mistakes and disappointments, and then, finally, the obtaining of your masterpiece that you’ll be satisfied with for a whole week, and most of your followers couldn’t even understand – this way is much more complicated I guess. But for all intents and purposes, this is creativity. So, to my mind, the exit from this dead-end of contemporary landscape photography is in willingness to choose the truth of creativity no matter how difficult this way is.

Denis Churin photographer. Denis Churin fotógrafo

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