To begin with, we had to read Sean O’Hagan’s article entitled New Topographics: photographs that find beauty in the banal and watch a video of Lewis Baltz discussing his work.
We then had to describe our thoughts on typological approaches and my own responses to the work of some of the photographers mentioned within the article.
It is hard to believe that this approach to landscape photography is only around 40 years old as nowadays this type of photography is so commonplace within magazines and galleries. Due to its contemporary nature, it is now much idolised and deemed much more in depth then when it began. In its beginnings, topographial landscapes showed the increasingly man made environment we all lived in and stuck two fingers up at the traditional landscape photographers.
By using this approach, it made landscape photography more accessible to more people and serves to reassure people that you don’t have to go to an area of outstanding beauty to take a good photo. It is also about being in tune with your own surroundings and looking for things that other people don’t notice or take for granted.
Responses to photographers
I chose to look at the work of Robert Adams, Stephen Shore & Frank Gohlke. With the exception of Stephen Shore’s work being in colour, I found the images were all very similar. I found them to be quite abstract. None of the images included people, even though the photographs are of man made landscapes, because of this they look very sterile, surreal and a little post apocalyptic. I also found some of them to quite aesthetically pleasing, maybe this is due to clean lines and shapes that are present.