Value in Landscape Photography, Part 2: Color and Form

Abstract Expressions of Color

One of my favorite things about the US tradition of modern painting is the wild exploration of color. From Rothko to O’Keefe, there runs an interesting line of colorist work designed to emphasize the power of colors. Working non-objectively, or semi-figuratively we have a rich tradition of studies in color.

Atmospheric Painting with Light

Making photographs of the sunset is an equally compelling study of the effects of color. The same sublime drama that one finds in a Rothko canvas, the whimsical playfulness that you can experience in front of a Thiebaud: these qualities exist in the moments when the horizon eclipses the sun.

Laws of Form

Another aspect of landscape photography involves the study of forms. Physical things, multidimensional entities, are translated through the camera into a document that can be studied. Working in black and white strips the image of color’s charming and highly subjective effects to concentrate the formal aspects.

Minimalism and Metaphor

Choosing to emphasize form opens up the potential for creating visual metaphors. This looks like that. A full moon is an empty tea cup. The possibilities are endless, and by simplifying the image through minimalist techniques like black and white photography, the landscape becomes a place for poetic thought.

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