A1: Beauty and the Sublime – Request for Peer Review

Following feedback both here and on the OCA Discussion Forum I have made several changes to my provisional series for assignment 1. Whilst a number of critiques were positive about the geometry of the winter branches the series was rather one dimensional. The most significant change is therefore the inclusion of some different perspectives of the same land.

Stourhead 01 - Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 01 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 02 - Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 02 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 03 - Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 03 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 04 - Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 04 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 05 - Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 05 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 06 - Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 06 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 07 - Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 07 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 08 - Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 08 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

Landscape assignment 1 asks us to convey our interpretation of beauty and/or the sublime and I selected Stourhead as the site for this series as it is recognised as one of Britains greatest landscape gardens and in that sense a landscape specifically designed to be picturesque. I was interested in how effectively its eighteenth century designer and its latter-day guardians had been successful in keeping nature inside the bounds of their preconceived notion of the beautiful. I wanted to look the “other way” where nature was pushing back into the man-made landscape and reinstating its natural and chaotic state. It is a study of the edgelands that surround and at times have invaded a groomed, stylised, idyllic landscape.

The final submitted series will be accompanied by a 500 word supporting text but at this stage I would appreciate any feedback you might have.

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Stourhead 1 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

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Stourhead 2 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

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Stourhead 3 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

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Stourhead 4 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

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Stourhead 5 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

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Stourhead 6 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 7 - Steve Middlehurst 2017

Stourhead 7 – Steve Middlehurst 2017

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6 Responses to A1: Beauty and the Sublime – Request for Peer Review

  1. lynda512863 says:

    I particularly like the trope of the branches pushing their way in to reclaim as you state nature’s natural state. There is a real sense of invasion here and my favourite image that conveys your statement above is #2. There is just something about that image that screams “I’m coming to get you” to me, while also at the same time it also has an encompassing feel to it as if nature is putting out her arms to hug something, or welcome something back. All images are very strong.

  2. susan514652 says:

    As a non photographer I have a couple of thoughts. Trees seem to be the main focus apart from in the last photograph. Trees are, in my view, sublime. I think what I would be looking for is a theme across the group – in addition to the fact that the location is held in common.For me, the second photograph from the top is the most interesting, the most beautiful and the most sublime. The colour is both subtle and varied and the branches of the tree are almost framing the rest of the photograph. You have taken this from a more unusual angle and in my opinion more of the qualities of this photograph could usefully be sought in the other shots.

    • Thank you Susan. Interesting that you see the Sublime in this series – I hadn’t really thought of that being here but I suppose there is the Sublime of nature. I have changed the series quite a lot after the comments on the forum and here to try and broaden the “investigation” into these marginal areas.

  3. You seem to be focusing on the picturesque rather than the Sublime … as I understand, the picturesque is what happened when an English vicar took a knife to the Sublime! They are not opposing aesthetics rather the picturesque is a rationalisation and hence effectively a dismissal of the Sublime which transcends rational thought!
    A tree could be sublime it might be picturesque; it rather depends on the manner of expression.

  4. Stourhead is a monument to the picturesque; for the Sublime, one might need to look at wilder parts of the UK.

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