I was blown away by the response from all you photographers out there who took your valuable time to give me feedback on the first edit of my landscape photography portfolio last week! The feedback you gave me on the series of photos was so insightful and so helpful to me so I am very grateful!
This photography project has been deeply insightful for me. I have realised so much about myself and my work that its hard to our into words. During the 2 years I have been studying Landscape with the OCA my understanding has changed. I have especially become more aware of how photographs are representations that we create based on our perception of a subject whether that is a landscape, a country, people or whatever we select to be the subject of our photographs. During the course I read extensively on representations of Ireland specifically and the different forms that this representation takes. If you are interested in reading on this subject yourself, a book I can highly recommend is Ireland and Photography by Justin Carville. Gradually you become aware that a lot of the forms of representations seem to fit into a couple of categories. That, I guess is very big picture.
What I realised about myself was that as a photographer we have a couple of choices when it comes to going out to make photographs: We can head out on our photography adventure visualizing what we want to find out there in the landscape and go on a hunt to collect or bag the image tat we think will fit the preconceptions that we have. Sometimes we find what we were looking for and sometimes we don’t. The problem I have found with this is that quite often if we go out to find precisely what we think is there we can blind and blinker ourselves to what is there. We go hunting for what we think should be there and not what really is there. If it’s not there then we try to force what is there into the picture we want. I find this particularly difficult here in Ireland as we live in a land that has been so stereotyped already, so packaged and marketed as a kind of dystopian cure for the modern condition, a landscape of quiet, green, picturesque beauty with a pub on every corner with a warm fire and friendly chatty locals drinking pints and playing traditional music. This is not the Ireland I live in, its fantasy land. The only truly picturesque landscape here is in the big country houses where the gardens are modelled on 18th century English landscape gardens.
The second choice we have to go out photographing with an open mind, with camera in hand, look at and evaluate everything afresh. Turn off the inner monologue and experience the landscape visually, notice how the images affect you and how you react to what you see. Photograph what is there not what you think should be there. Do not self censor. Photograph everything not thinking about what it means or if it is a suitable subject. Free yourself of all restrictions and go with the process. See what you find. Pan for gold, see what you find, save it, take it home and examine it. If its gold then keep it. Allow the story to emerge on its own. Trust in the process, trust your eyes and your vision to guide you. Don’t force it. Allow it to happen instead of making it happen.
Now I need your help I would love to hear your thoughts on the slide show above. Take 1 minute of your time to look at the video and afterwards leave me a comment here on what you feel the images say to you. What do they bring up, what do you think the series is about?