Make It Your Own
There is currently a lot of discussion over the question of originality in landscape photography. With ever-increasing numbers of images being presented online, some feel that there is a tendency for landscape photographers simply to travel from one well-known destination to another, doing little more than copy other people’s work.
However, there is value in such an assignment. In all artistic disciplines, copying is a vital part of the learning process, but you can also benefit from the opportunity
of studying the working methods and style of a successful photographer by incorporating some elements of these in your own work and learning new skills.
So, use this project as an opportunity to try something new. For example, if you only ever shoot in color, try to recreate a famous monochrome image. This will teach you a lot about composition, structure, and tonality, and may help your personal style to evolve. You can also look beyond the photograph you’ve chosen: rather than simply copy it, see if you can add your own twist to the image, perhaps by excluding some elements that were present in the original or adding some that were absent.
Post-processing may be an important part of creating the image. The original may be a black-and-white photograph from the 1950s, for instance, but you are shooting with a DSLR. You will need to research the darkroom techniques used to create the original print and find out how to recreate them digitally.
View the images
- Don’t restrict yourself to photographs-you can use a famous landscape painting for inspiration.
- Smartphone apps can be invaluable.
- Smartphone apps for pinpointing location, day, and time of original image, such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris.
- Post-processing software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.
- Spend time studying your image. Work out where the photographer (or painter) was standing. What time of year and day was it shot and why-does the light only reach this viewpoint in a particular season, for example? Also, find out as much technical information as possible. What camera, lenses, and filters were used? What were the aperture and shutter speed? Are there any particular techniques you think the photographer used, such as maximizing depth of field?
- Although you need to study the original image and be familiar with it, don’t take it with you on the shoot-allow for your own interpretation of the scene.