The Forgotten Intimate Landscape   Leave a comment

This month’s Outdoor Photographer focus on Landscapes with several great articles, including Dewit Jones’ column Realizations – What is photography for you? (A subject I want to address in a future post). But one article really caught my attention, The Forgotten Intimate Landscape by Tom Till.

It is based on his inspiration of the work of Eliot Porter and his “less can be more” theory. It is the idea that between the wide sweeping landscapes of various well-known photographers and the macro photographs of others there lies another way to photograph, “The Intimate Landscape”. And boy, did this ring a bell with me.

For various reasons, including health, I will never have the opportunity to visit those famous Southwest locations, watch the bears frolic in Alaska or see the sunset across the beaches of Hawaii. They were dreams that for one reason or another were never realized. And that is okay. The past can be learned from, but it can never be changed. So, today I live in the present, the area that I call The Acker Woods.

We live in a semiprivate location seven miles from any town. The dirt road that leads back to about 15 year-rround homes and summer cottages is boarded by two small lakes, Acker Lake and Little Acker Lake, one on each side. This dead-end road turns into a two-track and ends up with lakefront cottages on one side and about 40 – 60 acres of woods on the other side. When we step out of our back door we are in the woods.

This, then, is where I photograph. There are no broad, sweeping expanses, no majestic mountain ranges or sweeping valleys to shoot. There are trees, and leaves and ferns and stones and dead branches and all the other little things you would expect to find in a West Michigan woods. In the broad view, not much to get excited about, but…

There are the little things, the way one fern lays across its brothers, The way a leaf seems to draw my eye, the crooked tree weaves its way into the sky, the fungus growing from the side of a tree and more. These are the things I can bring to life in a photograph, share with others and feel a sense that I have brought some beauty, some appreciation of nature into the lives of others. These are my “The Forgotten Intimate Landscapes”.

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Posted April 14, 2012 by hwilliam in Photography

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