Why is Landscape Photography Often So Boring and Predictable?

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Transcending technique

Why is Landscape Photography Often So Boring and Predictable?

DAVID ANTHONY HALL – Masters of Vision

Now, while I may sound glib here, I am the first to admit that doing all of the above properly is not easy, so hats off to people who do it well. I worry, however, that some people mistake this technical box ticking as an end in itself, rather than just a means to self expression – or to put it another way, capturing your emotional response to the scene in front of you, rather than just showing off your technical proficiency. It’s great that photographers make the effort to work out hyper-focal distance or the arcana of filters, so long as they don’t get stuck on a self-imposed creative plateau.

“If we are entering competitions or trying to get our work published, then originality is key; probably the single most important aspect. As more photographs are made, originality becomes more elusive, but there are myriad permutations; our creativity remains eternal.”

The big problem is this: if the ‘process’ becomes an end in itself, your images end up looking like those of all the other people who use those processes. Spend some time on camera-user groups on Facebook, and you’ll see what I mean – a lot of well executed but excruciatingly predictable images that could have been taken by a robot.

Is this a bad thing? Does it really matter? I suppose it depends on your intentions and goals. If all you want to do is reach a certain technical level, as it gives you nice prints for the dining room and pleases the pundits in your camera club, that’s fine. To make progress in major competitions, however, or start to get noticed by the media (social and traditional), you need to start to make the jump from displaying your mastery of popular landscape techniques to proper self expression.

Why is Landscape Photography Often So Boring and Predictable?

VALDA BAILEY – Masters of Vision

Once you’re comfortable with a lot of the conventions and rules, try to subvert them and creatively bend them. Or think about this way: does this toolbox of popular techniques really allow me to capture how I am feeling about the scene in front of me, or even how I MYSELF am feeling on this day? Start to ask yourself these questions and your photography is likely to get more interesting.

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