Do I See?

Chakraborty_S_Temple of the Sun

Do I see?

Needless to say, there is a basic premise, a singular point (if you will) from which landscape photography originates, that is an appreciation for the landscape. Whether you have the eye for natural beauty, adulation, if not reverence for the grand design all around us! Do the crimson hues of twilight excite you; do you take a drive to the hills, if only to take a break from the urban drudgery? If so, then all hope is not lost.

DSC00258-Pano

Can I show what I see?

From Wordsworth’s poetry to Zachariah Mutai’s duty, humans are capable of love for Mother Nature in myriad ways. But in this context, we shall limit the discussion to photography. To merely capture what you see, to ‘represent’ a landscape as termed by many artists, all that is needed is technical proficiency. If you know the basics of your camera, you are guaranteed an image. In some instances, especially when visiting iconic locations like Mesa Arch at sunrise, you probably do not even need to master composition. The scientists and the engineers behind the design of the camera, pushing auto-focus and ISO to extremes, are probably the ones being creative and not you, the person using the camera.

 

Chakraborty_S_Transition

Do I feel?

Ah, feelings! A slippery slope to ascend. Or descend. Shrieking with excitement at the reflections of pretty twilight colours on a clear lake- is that enough of a feeling? Or when your feelings are not limited to one particular sense, when you can smell the mist while shivering in the crisp dawn, standing knee deep in water while your pupils dilate with the rising sun- would you say that then you have felt something? Would you then claim that you feel what you see? Or is it when you are staring at barren rocks stretching for miles into the horizon in the flat light of the hot desert sun and yet you feel nothing but joy, photography be damned, because you know this place like a friend?

2_Rock Alchemy

Can I express my feelings?

Now that you know a place, more than an acquaintance or a customary ‘nice to meet you’, you can connect to the place at an emotional and spiritual level. And the connection is not limited to a reactionary one- a gorgeous alpine sunrise that you witnessed after a personal loss might produce a melancholic hope, a forest charred by wildfire might fill you with grit to go all the way, standing on the edge of a canyon and staring into the abyss might make think that you matter too, at this moment of time, if only to yourself. And if you can express this connection through pixels and photons, you will produce something that is more than a photograph. You will make an image of yourself, shaped by the synthesis of the individual and the landscape.

2 thoughts on “Do I See?

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