“Issue 15 of PHOTOGRAPH magazine is dedicated to the art of landscape photography and seeks out the ideal web of trees, explores what makes a good impressionistic landscape, catches the perfect wave, and examines at how including yourself in a vast scene can tell bigger photographic stories.
Portfolios and interviews include Ray Collins, a coal miner-turned-award-winning-photographer who’s job injury led to his discovery of seeing the sea from a whole new angle; the calm, impressionistic work of former painter Chris Friel, widely known and respected in the intentional camera movement world for his landscapes; Charles Cramer, a classical pianist who studied with Ansel Adams and developed a deep love for creating beautiful prints; and Paul Zizka, who became widely known for his self-portraiture after including himself in his hard-to-reach landscapes.
Regular contributors John Paul Caponigro, Michael Frye, Guy Tal, Chris Orwig, Martin Bailey, Adam Blasberg, and David duChemin—each recognized for their respective landscapes—have contributed articles on audience, perspective, flexibility, how everyday conversation can spark creativity, the natural landscape as metaphor, optical filters, and how negative space can make a positive impact on your photography.”
Get it here.
Here’s a selection of my favorite quotes on perspective.
“A little perspective, like a little humor, goes a long way.” – Allen Klein
“Perspective is worth 80 IQ points.” – Alan Kay
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Never write about a place until you’re away from it, because that gives you perspective” – Ernest Hemingway
“In the perspective of every person lies a lens through which we may better understand ourselves.” – Ellen J. Langer
“Never solve a problem from its original perspective.” – Charles Thompson
“Reality is a question of perspective; the further you get from the past, the more concrete and plausible it seems – but as you approach the present, it inevitably seems incredible.” – Salman Rushdie
“The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up.” ― Chuck Palahniuk
“Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror.” ― Colin Powell
“I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may – light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful” – John Constable
“I believe everyone should have a broad picture of how the universe operates and our place in it. It is a basic human desire. And it also puts our worries in perspective.” – Stephen Hawking
“Humans have the ability to shift perspective. We can experience the world through our senses. Or we can remove ourselves from our senses and experience the world even less directly. We can think about our life, rather than thinking in our life.” – John J. Emerick
“No perspective, no perception. / New perspective, new perception.” ― Toba Beta
“What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth, created by a frame, the arrangement of shapes on a flat surface. Perspective is necessary. Otherwise there are only two dimensions. Otherwise you live with your face squashed up against a wall, everything a huge foreground, of details, close-ups, hairs, the weave of the bedsheet, the molecules of the face. Your own skin like a map, a diagram of futility, crisscrossed with tiny roads that lead nowhere. Otherwise you live in the moment. which is not where I want to be.” ― Margaret Atwood
“Winners have the ability to step back from the canvas of their lives like an artist gaining perspective. They make their lives a work of art / an individual masterpiece.” – Denis Waitley
Find more creativity quotes here.
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In 2010, during my third trip to one of the oldest desert’s in the world, Namibia’s Sossusvlei dune field, I enjoyed one of the most sublime hours of my life, from a helicopter. Moments of grace like this fill you with reverence for the miracle world we live in and a deep abiding gratitude to be a part of it all. I was prepared for it, but nonetheless surprised.
Before arriving, to plan where to go and how to maximize my time this magnificent dune field, I had done a considerable amount of virtual aerial research with Google Earth, zooming and panning images made from the combination of thousands of satellite images at various magnifications, to familiarize myself with where it started and stopped, how it changed in character, and the relative location of landmarks such as the dunes Big Mama and Big Daddy and the famous clay playa Deadvlei.
None of that could have prepared me for the changing angle of light, we were on the second flight of the day, an hour after sunrise, and the atmospheric conditions, all week long, the air was filled with dust from far off sandstorms that scattered the rays of the sun, permeating the sky with a white gold light. On site, I had to assess the impact of current conditions.
Even at an altitude about 3,000 feet, twice the height of the largest dunes, I found I couldn’t fit the vast dune field into my viewfinder. So I improvised and started making multi-shot exposures for panoramic stitches. It seemed like a bold move, if the two or three shots did not merge successfully then both would be lost, until one of my companions, Paul Tornaquindici, made an even bolder move and requested we do a 360 stationary rotation so that he could make a panoramic image of the entire dune field. To my delight, this method worked.
The images lay simmering in my unconscious for more than a year before I found my final solution, to render an effect of light as if it were originating from within the land to complement the light that showered down outside it. Often, a period of gestation is necessary to distill the essence of rich experiences to their essentials and connect them to others.
New image processing features informed the final realization of this image. The body metaphors, latent in these images, were intensified with creative perspective adjustments, using lens profile corrections, designed to remove mechanical optical distortions, now used expressively. Quite different than a change of angle of view, which reveals and obscures information, these distortions offered complementary but distinctly different visual effects, changing relative proportions and spatial relationships within the image. This solidified my previous experiments to compare and contrast the two and so learn to fully utilize them in tandem with one another intuitively.
Unexpectedly, the dynamic explorations made during the creation of this image suggested an entirely new alternate solution – one not fit for print. Animations of progressive distortions made the images appear to pulse and breathe, an effect that is perfectly in sync with my view of land as a living thing with a spirit of its own.
Making this image required pre-planning and then allowing that plan to evolve while responding to new input at each step in the creative process.
How can planning help strengthen your creative efforts?
At what stages and in how many ways can you encourage the evolution of those plans?
When is it better to abandon an old plan for a new one?
What are the positive and negative effects of having no plan at all?
View more related images here.
Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.
Before you photograph, write. Tell the story of your subject. Actually, tell three stories. First, tell the story in third person as a distant observer – “Just the facts ma’am.” Next, tell the story in first person as an involved participant – “How do I feel?” Finally, tell the story as if you were the subject being observed – “How does it feel to be you?” You’ll find surprising shifts in perspective come when you take a little time to consider things from many perspectives, especially your subjects’. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences that each perspective brings.
After you’ve done a little research, photograph. Can you make photographs from each perspective? Can you make photographs that reflect the differences in perspectives? Which perspective offers the most classic view? Which perspective offers the most unusual view? Which perspective offers the most insight? After you spend a little time with these questions, you’ll find that you’ll make deeper photographs because you considered your subject and your self on many levels.
Find more online resources in my Creativity Lessons.
Learn more creative techniques in my Illuminating Creativity workshops.