Pure landscapes

By: Louk Vreeswijk

May 12 2013

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Category: Asia, China-Tibet

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Standing in the middle of a beautiful landscape can be a profound experience. The wide vistas allow us to feel the immensity of space, and the sense of the earth upon which we live. This sensation is intensified also by the quality of the sounds we hear; sounds of animals or human beings that reach us from nearby or from afar, echoing across the vast expanse of the sky. No wonder, then, that the intensity of the real experience of a landscape can never be evoked by a two-dimensional photograph. For the photographer, the photo may bring back, at best, the memory of the experience; for somebody else its impact may not even rise above the effect of an ordinary picture postcard.

It takes a while before I can judge a picture of a landscape according to its inherent qualities. Many pure landscape photos that I have taken leave me indifferent later on when looking at them. But maybe there are a few exceptions that somehow have a particular quality that draws the viewer into the landscapes they depict, and produces an emotion. There is one like this in an earlier post, which I called Rhythmic mountain song, a mountain landscape in France which had a deep impact on me. But I think the photo in that post can also impress and move the general viewer on its own merits.

When I talk about a pure landscape photo I don’t mean it to be of a pure or untouched nature, but a photo in which the landscape itself is the only protagonist. There are many other landscape pictures in which certain elements are present that become important secondary protagonists. The photo of a beach in an earlier post, called After sunrise, is an example.

This photo-of-the-week is of a landscape in Tibet, certainly a region where one encounters the most extraordinary scenery. I would consider it another example of a pure landscape picture.

Photo of the week: Yamdrok Tso, Tibet, 1996

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