Tag Archives: mist

on landscape photography

Monday 26 September 2011

these landscape photographs have all appeared in previous posts, from 2005-2010 (part of an ongoing recycle & reuse images whenever possible philosophy due to the sheer number of images accumulated). i decided to collate this small selection of photographs of the east anglian landscape in one ‘place’ as it were as a simple means of a personal review, having been lost & buried elsewhere in the ‘blog’. these photographs were all taken from a humble point ‘n’ shoot perspective. there is the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words but here the apparent air of mundane detachment or plain objectivity contained therein means they are perhaps unworthy of many words…

suffolk fields, old airfield, passing place sign
[a field, a ‘passing place’ sign]

from previous post: passing places part ii may 2006

old airfield, overgrown by fields, suffolk
[edge of old airfield, with rubble]

from previous post: beware of banality december 2005

suffolk fields, old airfield, passing place sign
[old airfield track and fields, a misty winter morning]

from previous post: farmscape painting february 2010


[field, late afternoon]

from previous post: on vacant and empty landscapes april 2010


[stubble field in winter, with ground frost, norfolk]

from previous post: some secrets revealed november 2010

on a train, passing through the fens, winter fields
[fields, seen from a train, the fens, winter]

from previous post: passing places april 2006

[misty morning by the lake, winter]

from previous post: mist opportunties again may 2010


[early morning mist, reflection of trees in lake water]

from previous post: winter solstice december 2009


[high snow drift, a field, two trees and a farmhouse, winter]

from previous post: from white snow to grey earth january 2010


[snow on ground, meadows, ditch, late afternoon light, winter]

from previous post: walking, in winter, wander land december 2009


[hoarfrost on trees next to the lake]

from previous post: the art of making soup january 2009

winter field, misty morning
[field, early morning, winter]

from previous post: mist opportunities january 2010


[the north sea, a view from dunwich cliffs, suffolk]

from previous post: on vacant and empty landscapes april 2010


[covehithe cliffs, suffolk]

from previous post: on vacant and empty landscapes april 2010


[salthouse marshes, north norfolk]

from previous post: salthouse surveyed march 2009


[on southwold beach, the north sea]

from previous post: two pebbles, a drawing october 2009

i used to take quite a few landscape photographs but i have not been very inclined to do so in more recent times. these landscape photographs seem no more ‘vital’ to me now than having just a memory of the time, place or location to draw upon. perhaps it is just photography fatigue. not only does it become all to easy (with digital cameras) to take yet another photograph but one feels simultaneously guilty for not taking a photograph, for not framing the moment as witnessed there and then. then, much later, one wonders whether it should be kept or erased, whether it has any lasting use, significance or meaning.

from previous post: taking the scenic route april 2009

to swiftly conclude, here is a photograph (not really a ‘landscape’ per se) of a lone seagull on a roof in the pleasant seaside town of aldeburgh, suffolk – all appears to be quite innocent, peaceful and calm…

‘thinking should be done beforehand and afterwards, never while actually taking the photograph.’

henri cartier-bresson (as quoted in on photography, susan sontag)

mist opportunities [again]

Thursday 27 May 2010


a straight photograph; morning mist, winter…


with some digital blurs applied…


then with a dark vignette…

The original photograph had, by nature’s own means, some readymade atmosphere… I could, I suppose, use some mechanical filters to achieve a similar effect, as I am not a fan of post-processing in digital photography – in the deceit of any number of wow and pop effects – aka ‘photoshopped’…

It seems to me that when using digital technology the artist should have a rough idea of the visual outcome they want to achieve and then experiment with the tools to realise the vision or intention.

David Hockney quite likes using computers… as does Julian Opie… so computers can be good tools for artists…

This painting, by the British artist Gary Hume, displays the digital effects of Photoshop’s pointillize filter, but this was ‘painted‘ in 1998… he must have been one of the first to use Photoshop software as a ‘creative’ tool…

Gary Hume, Bird point III, 1998 – gloss paint on aluminium

Here’s a little Photoshopped  ‘Humeresque‘ I made earlier, (in the ‘Blue Peter’ tradition, of course)…

Created from this original photograph…

Like many successful international artists, Gary Hume has a painter’s assistant… he ‘can’t bear doing the really fiddly bits’ apparently. The painter and the assistant must be a strange relationship to maintain, when the fabrication of the work has to embody the style and technical skill(?) of one artist… I wonder if the ‘artist‘ in such a situation ever feels that the assistant is the more accomplished craftsman (if not the artist), or if the assistant sees the role as a type of apprenticeship, providing the necessary first steps to their own success…

Software such as Photoshop can provide new creative tools (or assistance) in making art. As mentioned, Hockney excels in exploiting the finer nuances of the capabilities of the software; looking at Hockney’s new digital drawings one doesn’t immediately want to recall the brand of software used. Another artist, Paul John Taylor, who came to my attention via Jerwood Painters 2009 (exhibition reviewed here), seems to be using digital filters to design his paintings (referencing media photographs) – they apppear to look as though a selected photograph has been post-processed with filters (as with Gary Hume’s painting above) and then are mechanically painted (or reproduced) onto canvas.


Paul John Taylor Bombed Beirut, second from right

I had a little go with some digital filters and visual effects. Below is a news image I found on Reuters that I have digitally manipulated showing similar image manipulation methods.


[click to view larger]

I am fascinated by the desire or concept to translate digitally manipulated images back into handcrafted paintings – the painting becomes a reproduction (or facsimile) of its digital counterpart – validated as art by the very materiality of paint as opposed to pixels. They could print them straight onto canvas or panel, but then they wouldn’t be original paintings.

Whereas Opie and Hockney use the tools of technology in very individual ways (in both artist’s work mechanical drawing or mark-making is a part of the process) with very distinct visual outcomes, Taylor and Hume seem to have merely appropriated the built-in filters and effects of the software. The British artist Maggi Hambling (whose recent seascape paintings display the energy of both the artist and the subject matter) once said that ‘photography is inevitably a dead thing’, so perhaps digital manipulation just continues the flogging…

on losing focus and seeing things

Saturday 22 May 2010

I have been playing with a few landscape digital photographs, having not pursued much in the way of any painting or drawing this week…

A few filters applied here and there, playing with digital effects up to the point of image dissolution… i am interested in the notion of blindness or visual impairment and the many classifications and measures of visual acuity… rarely is someone completely blind… they may have an awareness of objects in space, a perception of distance, or a sense of light in determining day or night time… one assumes that the other senses are heightened in compensation – hearing, touch, taste and smell..

these images mirror washes of watercolour or sepia ink blots on wet paper, or smoke drawings…

melting…

diffusing…

dissolving…

dispersing…

evaporating…

blindness has also become a metaphor for stubborness, weakness, ignorance or indifference, on not wanting to see something: turning a blind eye, having blind faith, going up a blind alley, not listening to a blind word, effing and blinding, it’s all so blindingly obvious…

I am not just seeing things; i have some ideas…

I could, in artspeak, say that in these images i am aiming to subvert or undermine a belief that landscape photography is inherently truthful… but when i really think about it, it’s about achieving emotional distance, separation, remoteness, seeking a form of liberation, acceptance, transformative and reflective, of one’s own memory to reality… even a memento mori… but it seems too reductive and limiting to intellectualise from a distance; art is inseparable from one’s own experiences of life – there are gaps waiting to be filled. these are just my thoughts; here are some from others…

Anselm Kiefer:
I don’t paint to present an image of something. I paint only when I have received an apparition, a shock, when I want to transform something. Something that possesses me, and from which I have to deliver myself. Something I need to transform, to metabolize, and which gives me a reason to paint.


Anselm Kiefer, Heavy Cloud, lead and shellac on photograph, 1985

Gerhard Richter:
Strange though this may sound, not knowing where one is going, being lost, being a loser, reveals the greatest possible faith and optimism, as against collective security and collective significance. To believe, one must have lost God; to paint, one must have lost art.


Gerhard Richter, overpainted photograph, 1992

Andrei Tarkovsky:
Any artist in any genre is striving to reflect as deep as possible a person’s inner world… [to tell] about the inner duality of a human being, about his contradictory position between spirit and substance, between spiritual ideals and the necessity to exist in this material world.

Tarkovsky – Solaris

[last scene, solaris]

the local lakes shrouded in mist in midwinter recall Tarkovsky…