My tutor, Jayne Taylor, suggested it might be beneficial for me to review “A graveyard and steel mill in Bethlehem, Pensylvania” by Walker Evans, and “Shot at Dawn” by Chloe Dewe-Matthews.
This has been a real blessing for me. With Walker Evans I have been able to see how one photo can tell a story on its own. All I had to go on was the name of the photographer, the photo, and the year. I analysed the photo in the manner that we were guided to in Foundations in Photography – Picture Analyses Red Bridge, Okawa by Toshio Shibata. Having the year of the photo was beneficial because I remembered about the Great Depression and could therefore contextualise the photo.
Shot at Dawn had no impact upon me until I had read the introduction to the series. Although to be fair on myself, my analysis of the photo was OK. I had picked up on the divide between both sides of the first photo, and the leafing lines pointing to nothing, a meaningless draw of the eye. I now suspect this was intentional. Why? A division of opinion about war and deserters existed during the war, the meaninglessness of executing armed forces personnel, and I believe Dewe-Matthews questions the validity of war in that first photo.
So what does that tell me about my dislike of landscape photography?
Until begining this research is had no understanding of the potential to tell a story or provide context with landscape. I had only a vague understanding of the potential for an introduction or context to help the viewer to interact with the narrative. I like the idea of an introduction or a post script to get the viewer to engage with the presented photography.
The other thing that I have realised is my lack of technical understanding on how to express myself within, and control such a broad canvas that landscape provides.
My sociology and events photography are ways of expressing myself and gaining insight into the world around me. Its visual story telling and relationship building. Macro photography slows me down and is more about my process of grounding myself in nature – it tells the story of my inner process.
I feel that I can now be a little more adventurous with landscape photography and can begin to explore landscape with a new outlook.