In the second part of this exercise I will look at a number of historical and contemporary photographs that strongly reference the visual conventions of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Some of these photographers have been directly influenced by painters, for example Scott McFarland revisited Constable’s skies, Elina Brotherus studied great paintings and revisited ideas that spoke to her and Stephen Shore used Claude Lorrain’s Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba as inspiration for his study of Los Angeles. Others are simply exploring the landscape in a way that is reminiscent of some of the painters I have previously considered (here).
Contemporary photography is constantly finding new ways to look at the landscape, and indeed to define new parts of the land as landscape but it is inevitable that the painterly traditions, conventions and subjects resurface in new and exciting ways. André Gide wrote:
“”Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”
The possibilities for this exercise are endless so by necessity what follows is a small selection whose only common attribute is that as Georgia O’Keefe once said of Stieglitz’s photographs:
“They are aesthetically, spiritually significant in that I can return to them …… with always a feeling of wonder and excitement” (1)
(1) O’Keefe, Georgia (c1922) To MSS and its 33 subscribers and others who read and don’t subscribe! (accessed at Monoskop 24.1.17) – https://monoskop.org/images/c/c9/MSS_4_Dec_1922.pdf