Framing the landscape


Out and about over the bank holiday weekend I visited a stately home, and in the gardens, at the end of a walk along a ridge, was a small building designed solely for “viewing” the landscape. There was a wooden window, never intended to contain any glass, through which one could gaze out over the landscape. Viewing it from the ridge was not enough (though the view was far more expansive); the owner had decided to frame the view in this very contrived way. It reminded me of much that I have been reading in this first section of the course – the way that framing a view through a painting or photograph can tame that view, can bring it within one’s possessions. This little viewing platform could not be a clearer expression of that aim. Yet the window frame also separates us from the landscape; we are not situated within it, we are looking out at it as if we do not wish to sully it with our presence. Or perhaps we consider its beauty unattainable, it is too much for our senses to endure being a part of the natural landscape?

Although more contrived this is very similar to my assignment images; though the notional viewer on the bench has the full landscape at his disposal, in practice the location of the bench has prescribed a view in much the same way as this window. This image has reinforced my intention to physically frame my assignment images and then photograph them in the frame – providing the layering that this window provides, the sense of separation from the original, and emphasizing the way in which we physically capture and tame the landscape.


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