Last week was an interesting week for me, which was great because, (outward appearances notwithstanding), not all of them are. But here's what transpired: I was given a Facebook challenge to come up with a week's worth of "nature" photos to post, and as I said at the time, I felt it really was something of a challenge, but enjoyable and well worth it. Even in my early studying days in the '70's, I never really considered myself a "nature" photographer, and am still unsure exactly what it means, to be honest. It got me to thinking, of course, and I began musing on the nature (so to speak) of nature and landscape photography, and if I was in fact conflating the two unnecessarily.
"Nature" photography, I'm thinking, is something of an artificial contrivance, the (admittedly lovely) fiction that there exists an unspoiled vision created solely for my camera. And I have no problem with this; I believe sometimes I can just point my camera and let the fates take over and deliver some surprises. The fates, of course, is a silly concept -- it's really the lifetime accumulation of our experiences left to think on their own. For me, it's a meditation, and sometimes even a discovery or two.
But I can't help thinking that a "landscape" photograph is something else again. It's a design-on-purpose, to my way of thinking. It's a construction project, it's nature upon which the man-made world interrupts mid-sentence. There is a conscious effort in making a landscape, incorporating purposeful elements of design, and the effort means the world to me, but effort it is nonetheless.
I don't really know if it's all that important, anyway. Fact of the matter is I'm addicted to the photographic image of any sort, natural or unnatural; landscape, cityscape, seascape, or any other scape. And my ultimate love, the portrait. I might approach each in a different state of mind, or maybe no particular state of mind at all. It doesn't matter if I'm looking at a photograph or making one. It's photography as zen, not as artifact.
But what the hell, it's a rainy morning and I have run out of coffee; I should go do a little wandering outside.