A portrait of the... landscape (Why)

A portrait of the... landscape (Why)

“…in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then God said, "Let there be light." God saw that all he had made was very good and called it LANDSCAPE.”


Well, perhaps this is not exactly how things went. But doubtlessly, in this LANDSCAPE, God put a lot of… Himself. And since the invention of photography, those who practice this genre (let’s call them Vedutists for now) try to copy the divine beauty of the landscape. Which was, is, and will be the most diffused genre in painting. As well as the most difficult. Comparison with the Divine Being will always be unequal. Of course, the subject (???!!?) is there, captivating, pandering, seductive.


But the results are seldom… worthy. Why? Well, first of all, because the landscape is such because “we are in it, too” but observe it and admire it objectively, all too often extrapolating ourselves from it. NEVER, like in the landscape, is pre-visualization so foundational. It makes the difference.


“The concept of pre-visualization lies at the base of a creative and subjective approach to landscape photography” (Ansel ADAMS, 1902-1984, perhaps the greatest and most famous landscape photographer in history).


And here is the first Secret: creative & subjective. Because: “… it is another nature which speaks to the camera rather than to the eye: "other" above all in the sense that a space informed by human consciousness gives way to a space informed by the unconscious.”***


Apart from things that are NOT photographable like the heat, the cold, the wind, smells, etc., today the sensors of our devices (and telephones, why not?) have eyes that see better than our own. And so a race ensues to attempt (quantitatively) winning the challenge against the Divine Being where, amongst the few serious and rather strict authors*, millions of serial producers of “little pictures” of colorful, extremely cloudy, menacing and unreal landscapes abound. Unfortunately, these fakes have nowadays become a trendy language to imitate. A generation “…that only reacts to the images that others are broadcasting, rather than creating their own, a generation that IS NO LONGER CAPABLE OF SEEING WITH THEIR MINDS…”****


No one seems preoccupied with the patient any longer (like many doctors, unfortunately), but only with the disease. It is a race to astonish. To collect shrieks of excitement, likes or second-rate prizes. Perhaps few know that the most expensive Photograph in the world** (paid about 4.5 million dollars) is a very discreet LANDSCAPE with soft tones and a few faint clouds … And we will return to that. With WHICH and HOW. As usual.


In the meantime… think about it. And just say….PdP (aka Ludwig Von Drake).


* Images by Maurizio Martini, renowned landscape photographer, personal and balanced

** Rhein II, by Andreas Gursky, the most expensive photograph ever sold

*** W. Benjamin, Little History of Photography (from: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction)

**** Z. Bauman - E. Mauro, Babel, Ed. Laterza Publishers