Brief: Gather a selection of postcards (6-12). Write a brief evaluation of the merits of the images you find. Consider whether these images bear any relation to your own experience of the places depicted in the postcard.
Brief: Write a brief response to Graham Clarke's comments above. Do you think it's possible not to be a 'tourist' or 'outsider' as the maker of landscape images?
When considering Graham Clarke's statement it is worth thinking about why we take photographs of landscapes. If it is a place that we are visiting for the first time, then it is only natural to take photographs of the landscape. I would often take too many images of places, to ensure that at least one will turn out ok, especially if it's a place that I will be unlikely to return to.
Having written his comments in 1997, Clarke was referring to a time before Google images and the Internet. Nowadays an almost limitless number of versions of famous views and landmarks can be visited, and re-visited, at the click of a button. The photographer is no-longer the privileged observer. Furthermore in the age of the selfie, it is more common than not for the photographer to put themself in the landscape, to validate their experience, which will be uploaded later to their social network - to prove 'I was there'. The photographer is very much part of the image.
Spectacle and pleasure are also factors associated with Clarke's view of landscape photography. However, whilst the picturesque and sublime present the beauty and majesty of places, the atrocities and devastation of war is documented after the event, whereby photographers capture landscapes that contain the shrapnel and fragments of war.
Another point worth considering is how photographer's, such as Joe Cornish, have made a very successful living photographing landscapes that they have become very familiar with. They connect with the landscape, knowing how and when to capture it in its best light.
In conclusion, it can be assumed that the photographer is not always an outsider. Maybe Clarke should expand on what he means by 'the landscape photograph'. Is it a particular type of image, or standard of image, that he associates with this term? In 1997 Clarke's views may have had some validity, but reading it today, photographers arrive at the scene with different experiences and intentions.