In exercise 3 we are asked to make notes in reference to 2 photographs of different landscapes and asked to compare if they were to be taken from ground level perspective, or to be viewed as a map or pictured from Google Earth.
Derek Trillo – The Cheshire Plain from Beeston Castle, 2008
In this photograph it looks like the photo has perhaps been taken from a hill-top or helicopter as it looks to be an aerial view rather than from just a window. It is a view of 3 separate fields, one looks to be grass that has been mowed in stripes, the other is perhaps a field that has been sowed as it too is in stripes and the third is a field of dried soil that is bare apart from a round area containing bushes and white soil. There are trees sparingly dividing each field from each other.
If this photograph were to have been taken at ground level, you would perhaps see the trees looking more majestic in height and the eye would look further to the horizon seeing more fields or trees, perhaps a tractor would come into view. The perspective would be in length and width, with a lot more to see.
MAP OR GOOGLE EARTH
Photos courtesy of Google maps (accessed April 3, 2019)
The first picture is of a road map on how to get to Beeston Castle with no greenery or pictures of the scenery. The second is of a satellite picture showing a lot more greenery and how the areas are divided out, perhaps by borders that contain trees, bushes or fences, it isn’t clear, but what is clear is there are borders, perhaps just by what has been planted or not planted. Or whether the greenery is a field or trees. I’ve never studied a satellite picture before and have found it very interesting.
Peter Mansell, OCA Student – No title
This picture looks to have been taken from a height but not quite an aerial view like the first one. Perhaps from a window in another building. It is a black and white photo of a built up area in an industrial town, the buildings look to be office blocks with warehouses in the foreground, perhaps housing in the distance towards the horizon, with a couple of tower blocks in between. There is a road dividing the office buildings and warehouse buildings and the only sign of life is a bus on the road.
If this photograph were to be taken at ground level, perhaps from where the warehouses are, then a lot of the buildings would be out of view as there are some tall buildings which would obscure the view beyond, the road would also be in the way and therefore the lower level buildings wouldn’t be seen nor would the buildings on the horizon. You may only get a portion of the buildings in the camera view depending on how far away the photo would be taken.
MAP OR GOOGLE EARTH
As the photograph didn’t indicate where the photo was taken, I had a look at some photos of an industrial area in Norwich, Norfolk, to try to get an idea of buildings, warehouses and a road, taken at ground level. I then zoomed in on Google maps showing both the road map and satellite images.
As you can see from the satellite picture , there is a lot more to see than the actual ground level view. There appears to be some greenery surrounding the shop units with a much larger road network running along side. This is showing what happens when a picture is taken from a different angle, and height that you can’t see what is further afield when taking a photo at ground level, at the same time there is much more detail in what you can see when closer to the object.
GROUND LEVEL PHOTOGRAPHY
This image by John Davies Agecroft Power Station, Salford 1983 – is very dramatic, like four giant monsters towering above everything, how where they built and why where they built there when there is obviously trees and fields around. I can’t help thinking if they were built there or transported there, how much land and trees must have been destroyed. I wonder if the football being played is being played by the employees of the power stations, as you can’t help thinking nobody would be living in the surrounding areas having to look at such ugly buildings. The smoke billowing from the towers also feels a threat to the environment. If the photograph was taken at ground level and closer to the power stations, then all you would see are the parts of the power stations, the human side of the photograph would not be there I don’t believe the photograph would feel or look quite so dramatic.
On further research I discovered that the power stations were demolished and HM Forrest Prison was built in its place, which is surrounded by a wood and Drinkwater Park. This leaves me feeling much happier.
(accessed April 4, 2019)
The following websites are various sites that have been researched for Project 3 and can be found in the Research Tab on the home page.
NEW TOPOGRAPHICS – “PHOTOGRAPHS OF A MAN-ALTERED LANDSCAPE”
This Guardian online newspaper article was written by Sean O’Hagen and was mainly about an exhibition containing over 168 black and white photos of landscapes that were basically boring, showing eery empty streets or buildings, pictures of office walls, German Cooling towers and billboards, to name but a few mundane pictures. William Jenkins was the Curator and at the time the exhibition, held in 1975, was not received well. However, the photographs took on a new meaning, truthfulness of what was happening to the American landscape
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/feb/08/new-topographics-photographs-american-landscapes (accessed April 1, 2019)
NEW TOPOGRAPHICS – Description by The Tate Gallery
“New topographics was a term coined by William Jenkins in 1975 to describe a group of American photographers (such as Robert Adams and Lewis Baltz) whose pictures had a similar banal aesthetic, in that they were formal, mostly black and white prints of the urban landscape”.
https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/n/new-topographic (accessed April 2, 2019)
ADAMS, ROBERT – GETTY MUSEUM – COLLECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS
(accessed April 2, 2019)
“Robert Adams has photographed the landscape of the American West for more than forty years, particularly in California, Colorado and Oregon. His vision is inspired by his joy in nature’s inherent beauty, yet tempered by his dismay at its exploitation and degradation. Adams uses photography to express his love for the landscape and to understand how urban and industrial growth have changed it, all the while insisting that beauty in the world has not been entirely eclipsed”.
ADAMS, ROBERT- LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER – YOU TUBE INTERVIEW
(Accessed April 2, 2019) Part of the 10 Photographers who took part in the 1975 New Topographic exhibition about banal landscape photographs that actually told a story about how nature was being destroyed by man. Robert Adams was a teacher turned photographer after becoming disillusioned with teaching. His photos are black and white pictures of various landscapes, mostly trees, quite morbid and depressing in some cases, where he described the uprooting photos of trees like corpses.
EPSTEIN’S MITCH – NEW TOPOGRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHER – AMERICAN POWER PROJECT
(accessed April 2, 2019)
An interesting collection of photos from Mitch Epstein – showing everyday landscape photos with large power stations in the background or wind turbines, man-made dam going through the Arizona mountains. Photos showing how man has intervened with nature and taken away some of the most beautiful and natural landscapes. He was born in 1952 and helped to pioneer fine art colour photographs in the 1970s. It has made me think about the country I live in – Saudi Arabia – and how this country has had its landscape completely changed by oil wells, tower buildings, water towers, road networks in such a short space of time, the beautiful Arabian Desert has slowly been taken over. I have not really taken much thought about how things once were. It has made me think about how much this country has changed in the ten years I have been here and how the people perhaps haven’t had much say in the environmental issues that perhaps are now being highlighted. The same as Bahrain which has moved forward much quicker than Saudi Arabia, laws are less stricter with regards to alcohol, women not having to wear abayas, no prayer times in the shopping malls, however there is a divide in the country clearly seen in landscape photography which I will attempt to convey in my next blog post.
FAY GODWIN’S – FORBIDDEN PROJECT
Fay Godwin was born in Germany but settled in England in 1950’s. As a keen rambler, she fought for people to have the right to walk anywhere in the British countryside and brought attention to harm being done in the environment by taking photographs which then resulted in the project ‘Forbidden Project’ – Looking at her amazing photographs, makes me think of my own photographs I have taken in the past, my favourite being of Winterton-on-sea, the landscape scenery is beautiful, with wind turbines seemingly floating in the sea, far in the distance. I’ve also started to take photos of the landscape and architecture of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and am fascinated by the incredible artwork and beauty of both countries and how the landscape and architecture is changing dramatically into expensive, high-rise buildings, banks, petrol stations, oil wells It makes me want to highlight the adverse changes and I can’t wait to continue to take photos whilst I can before Saudi Arabia becomes a tourist hotspot and its ever changing rules and policies.
GOODWIN, FAY – THE SCOTTISH GALLERY
Photographs by Fay Goodwin, landscape photographer (accessed April 2, 2019)
ANSEL ADAMS – BBC DOCUMENTARY (accessed April 3, 2019)
Born in San Fransisco – 1902 – gave up being a concert pianist to be a photographer. When he saw Paul Strands negatives in Mexico made him convert fully to a photographer. The interviewer asks him if being a musician and photographer are these two things related – he said the writer …. says that “All artists are expressionists of the same things”. Some of his photos he would change in the dark room by making them darker or lighter – different method to Bresson’s ‘Decisive Moment’ where he believes the photo shouldn’t be changed. Did a project for the Department of the Interior Building in Washington DC, the theme was to be nature as exemplified and protected in the US National Parks. However, project was halted because of World War II and never resumed.
JOHN DAVIES – INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER
Davies explored the different landscapes that were being turned into large-scale urban cities and investigated the disposal and privatisation of public open spaces. He was one of the first photographers to be commissioned by the Museum of London in 2001 – “to explore the major arterial road links which run through the capital”
“These photographs are made deliberately in an un-sensational and often understated way to allow the viewer to draw their own conclusions and to avoid imposing my own view of urban change” John Davies.