Exercise 4.3: A subjective voice


Task:  Write an entry reflecting on any current and previous circumstances and experiences that you think may influence your view of landscape. 

When I first started studying photography with the OCA, it was the Landscape module that I was so eager to complete. I wanted to find out what were the 'rules' for making a landscape photograph. As I progress through this course, I am realising that the 'rules' I was looking for are not found in one type of image. 

Ever since I was a boy, the landscape has played an integral part of my life. During family camping holidays to Cornwall, the landscape determined where we would pitch the tent, providing shelter and some protection from the adverse weather. Whilst on those holidays I enjoyed playing in the long grass on the sand dunes of Mawgan Porth beach. Also, when I braved the cold Atlantic, to go surfing, I would look towards the shore and see the vast coastline, with giant rocks jutting out at all angles. 

As I was growing up, the landscape also provided the setting for my sporting activities: playing Sunday league football; cross-country racing through muddy fields; and orienteering through forests. During these times, the gradient of the land and weather played a part in my experience. There were some pretty steep football pitches to play up! Therefore I see the landscape as having a purpose. It isn't something that exists solely for pictures to be taken of it.

As a consequence of enjoying the outdoors and wanting to understand it further, I studied A-Level Geography. This enabled me to understand how the landscape I was seeing was sculpted in corries, moraines and valleys. Therefore when I look through the viewfinder, it is as a geographer as well as a photographer. 

My desire to understand the world has led me further afield. I love discovering new places, their history and culture. Photography enables me to capture these new settings and the people who interact with them.

This course has taught me to zoom in to smaller elements of the landscape in front of me. The landscape doesn't just imply the panoramic views that I remember back in Cornwall. I need to remember that 'the city', and other urban environments,  are included in landscape photography.