Assignment One – Beauty and the Sublime

Landscape Assignment 1 – Beauty and the Sublime


I initially struggled to conceive of a concept for this assignment, and particularly to find something that I deemed to be original. Ultimately this lack of originality became a part of the images; I found myself increasingly aware of the deeply ingrained influences that go into creating a “landscape” and its detachment from what is actually seen. This is quite a broad topic and moving forward I would like to focus more on specific influences on our interpretation of the landscape, but as a starting point I have found this assignment really helpful in identifying where my interests lie within the broad heading of “landscape”.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:

These were challenging images to shoot, with high contrast which required decisions about appropriate exposure. On the whole I am happy with the base images, although for final submission I will reshoot the first image, which was taken on my first test shoot and needs to be a little closer to the bench in order to be consistent with the other images. I considered having all of the images shot from directly behind the bench but I felt that put a little too much emphasis on the bench; having a variety of perspectives allows the viewer to metaphorically see the landscape from all angles rather than making direct comparisons between the images.

The lighting of the framed images was difficult for me without studio lighting, but whilst a purist might argue that the small shadows to the right and bottom should be eliminated, I don’t consider them to be distracting and they anchor the images in reality. I think the triple frame – white border, silver frame and blue background – is particularly effective at constraining the images and emphasizing the layers of human input in construction of the landscape.

There are only five images here rather than the six required by the brief – I was defeated by time and weather. Although I consider that five images is sufficient for this series, in order to meet the brief I will shoot at another location before final submission. I will then reshoot every framed image as they need to be shot at the same time to ensure consistency of lighting. This will also correct the one image which has slightly soft focus.

Quality of Outcome:

I believe it is an important part of these images that they are presented electronically – framed in a gallery they would reinforce the landscape traditions rather than drawing attention to their contrived nature. I have presented one image to a page (in a pdf to ensure the viewer’s experience is as I intend so far as is possible). The order of the images isn’t particularly important here as each image presents essentially the same point, so the order was selected intuitively rather than with a particular goal in mind.

I have written a short introduction to what I am trying to achieve, though the scope of the issues I stumbled across whilst creating this series made it hard to achieve a concise introduction. I have deliberately avoided giving a title or location for the images, as their status in the imagination is more important than specifics of location.

Demonstration of creativity:

In some respects these images follow naturally from my final assignment of I&P, in which I examined my relationship with the landscape when out walking. Ideas about the way we construct and enjoy what is perceived as the “natural” landscape are starting to flow and I want to continue to refine and explore these influences in my future assignments.

I experimented with a range of ideas when preparing for this assignment, and my initial thoughts can be seen here: Exercise 1.7: Assignment Preparation. Further development can be found in the pages listed here: Assignment One


I have examined some of the photographers working with similar concepts, and have begun to review some of the theory underpinning the concept of “landscape” and the gaze, although this is a vast area and is very much a work in progress. A full contextualisation of this assignment can be found here: Assignment One – Contextualisation



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