Landscape with horseman

By: Louk Vreeswijk

May 19 2013

Tags: , ,

Category: Europe, Switzerland

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As we noted in last week’s post, a picture of a beautiful landscape normally doesn’t create the emotion that the viewer experienced when he looked at it in reality and which caused him decide to take the picture.

What is it then that makes a photo of a landscape potentially interesting? I don’t know if we can speak of a general rule, but special attention in the composition of the photo for objects that do not directly concern the landscape itself but nevertheless form part of it, can add extra meaning and emotional value to the image. Those objects can be living creatures, but that is not necessary. The danger exists of course that the role of the landscape in the picture fades into the background and becomes mere entourage of another theme. In that case we may not primarily call it a landscape photo any more.

In the photo above, the tiny figure of a horseman in the middle of the mountainous landscape makes a huge difference. Without it, the picture would hardly be of interest, especially so because the landscape itself is quite uniform. In fact, when taking the picture, I purposely chose the composition to be rather uniform in colour and texture. It has the effect of immediately drawing our attention to this little figure in the centre which in turn makes us look at the landscape much more intensely. We become aware of the scale and discover a wealth of detail and variety in this, at first sight, ordinary landscape.

The horseman has removed the barrier between us and the landscape in the photo; has drawn us, as it were, into the scenery of which we too now feel having become a part. So, in my view, the landscape in this photo still has the leading role, with an important minor role for the little horseman.

Photo of the week: Muverans, Switzerland, 2002

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