Landscape- Exercise 3:1- Reflecting on the Picturesque

Now assignment 2 is out-of-the-way (and I’m awaiting my feedback), it’s onto Part 3- Landscape as Political Text.

The first part looked at the origins of the picturesque and comments made by Fay Goodwin and William Gilpin’s “Observations on the River Wye and Several parts of South Wales”.

After this, we were asked to reflect on our own ideas on the picturesque.

Reflecting on the picturesque

When I think of the word “picturesque”, I think of a breathtaking landscape, something that you can completely lose yourself in or wish you could be there. They can be awe-inspiring and encourage you to go to these places to experience them for yourself. They can also give people a sense of fulfilment, enjoying them so much that they hang them on their walls. When I think of picturesque landscapes. I immediately think of the countryside or of empty beaches. The places are always far away from anything else, a secluded or secretive spot. They present a romantic view of a scene, with regards to postcards, they are taken at the optimal moment so the scene looks perfect, inviting and memorable.

I enjoy looking at more traditional landscape art because I can imagine myself standing there looking out at the view and I find that they can capture my attention more than an abstract landscape. The concept of the picturesque has also influenced my work in that I look to emulate it within my own work. I want to be able to amaze my viewers, make them feel a part of the scene I am presenting.

In regards to my own ideas of what constitutes a successful or effective landscape photograph; it is something that captures the viewer’s attention and makes them want to keep coming back to it. The creator, be it of a painting, photograph or other medium has to carefully consider aspects such as the angle, the lighting and any points of interest. A personal favourite of mine are reflections, I enjoy it when people look at or pick up an image and don’t know which way around it should be as it holds their attention and makes them curious about the image.

In conclusion, the concept of the picturesque is a very important part of landscape art/photography and has become a way of creating landscape images. Although it is not a movement like the Surrealists or the Impressionists, it has a place in art history as a turning point for this form of art.


About kunsworthphotography

I am currently studying towards a BA (Hons) in Photography with OCA and I have 2 children, Evie(4 years old) and Connor(3 years old)
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