The PhotoBook

September 23, 2014

Landmark – The Fields of Landscape Photography

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Copyright the various photographers 2014; Published by Thames & Hudson

This photobook is a curatorial discussion of the contemporary practice of landscape photography and perhaps why the practice of Landscape photography matters today. The editor of the book, William A. Ewing, a museum curator and writer about photography, makes the elegant point that the current (and urgent) issues of pollution, war, global warming to name but a few, could not be better suited for public and political discussion than by the practice of landscape photography. Ewing argues that as a result landscape photograph has come in par with portraiture as readers are daily inundated with landscape photographs in one form or another.

On this blog I am not as keen to write about photobooks that provide a survey of a genre of photography, but I have to admit to a fondness for contemporary landscape photographs. And although a little reticent to review this book, I will say that Ewing successfully lured me in with clear and articulate writing and an interesting selection of supporting photographs for each of the ten themes that he advocates; SublimePastoralArtefactsRupturePlaygroundScarControlEnigmaHallucination, and Reverie.

Ewing has selected a diverse set of 100 photographers and 250 photographs to broadly illustrate his themes. In general after reading his reasoning’s, I concur that these ten themes provide a broad investigation of contemporary landscape with a slight niggle here and there as to his image selection. The reader may find that some contemporary photographers or images have been grossly overlooked (or maybe should not have been included as these individuals are not known as “Landscape” photographers) but overall I think Ewing is continuing to extend the discussion as to what is a contemporary landscape photograph and why should it matter.

Of interest to me is that in Ewing’s historical review he states that for contemporary Landscape photography, the New Topographics exhibition and subsequently the Dusseldorf school seems to have a strong and lingering effect.

This horizontal, dense hardcover book with dust jacket is beautifully printed and bound, with each photograph presented classically with a nice margin that makes the book a delight to hold and read. The editor of the text for the Preface, Introductions and Historical background is William A. Ewing. Each of the photographers provides a short concise statement (Artists’ Voices) about their landscape practice which I found to be equally fascinating and informative. A book to consider if one is interested in the contemporary practice of Landscape photography.

Cheers

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