When I think of landscape photography, my mind thinks of picturesque scenery. Places I’d want to visit, places I’d want to live in. I think of trees, or mountains, or rivers. I picture a scene that could be printed on post cards. I think of people like Ansel Adams (pictured above) with the high dynamic range, the perfect whites in the snow capped mountains and the blacks in the darkest shadows. With the leading lines of the river drawing our eyes to the mountain range. I think of YouTuber Henry Turner who travels far and wide, often hiking several miles and camping on mountain summits just to get the perfect sunrise over a beautiful scene.
What I don’t often think about is the other side of the coin. The urban scenery, the uglier parts of the world. Photographs with nuclear power plants featured, like the John Davies image above.
I always believed landscape photography should show us the idealism, but it is so much more. By showing us the realism too, it can show us the things that needs changing in the world. There could be an otherwise beautiful landscape ruined by air pollution, and this would be an effective photograph that shows us how man-made pollution is affecting our world.
To display in your homes, photographers like Ansel Adams are a great choice. But I have learned that, while I won’t be hanging it on my wall, landscape photography doesn’t always have to be beautiful to be effective.