Jack French

JackFrench.photo

East of London, the Broomway lies at the mouth of the Thames estuary, where the river meets the sea. It’s an ancient public right of way, at least 600 years old, perhaps an Anglo-Saxon drove route. It was formerly waymarked by a series of markers resembling brooms, hence its name. When the tide is out, it provides access on foot to Foulness Island.

The byway has long been notorious as the most perilous in England due to  the disorienting nature of its environment in poor visibility, and near inevitability of death by drowning for anyone still out on the sands when the tide comes in. Many people have died on it over the years.

The Broomway leaves the mainland at Wakering Stairs, where there is a causeway over the band of soft mud known as the Black Grounds (or blackgrounds) which separates the mainland from the firmer ground of the Maplin Sands.

— Jack French, Wiltshire, England

Shaun H. Kelly

ShaunHKellyPhoto.com

Southern Tense is a continuation of Overgrown South. Overgrown South considers the tension between the South of the past, a contemporary South, and how it is often portrayed in a broader culture, “through recognizable and at times stereotypical images.”

Southern Tense considers the ambiguity of a place that is defined by something as nebulous as time. Locations are not mentioned but these are visible features of the Southern United States landscape — not necessarily untouched or natural but topographical inflection, realistic and detailed through geography, autobiography and metaphor.

— Shaun H. Kelly, Oxford, Mississippi, USA

Mirja Paljakka

MirjaPaljakka.com

These images are from my ongoing series called Seen by Odd Eyes.

I’ve been trying to see in new ways the locations near my home.

A lot of my recent work has been shot in places that many people would walk past without a second glance. My approach comes out of an increasing familiarity with a location.

Once you have exhausted the obviously “pretty” parts of the landscape, you start to look much closer and realize that beauty can be found in all sorts of places.

I am capturing moments in the landscape that only exist for a very short period and cannot be reproduced because of the light. Those edgeland  places where I’ve been shooting the light makes them something more.

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. — Plato

Seen by Odd Eyes has a touch of humans in nature, too. We are inside these landscapes and locations but always are somehow the smaller and weaker part of this bigger picture.

It is we who have forced the water to run like we want; it is we who cut the forests and make big holes in them. We need electricity and power of course, but we also need the calmness and serenity of nature at the same time. We need our seasons, too.

I want these images to show how small we are in long run and how much more we should really look at our surroundings to learn to enjoy beauty and value it more and protect it.

— Mirja Paljakka, Ylojarvi, Finland

Andrew Borowiec

AndrewBorowiec.com

For over three decades I’ve photographed the social landscape of the Rust Belt, America’s vast industrial heartland, which extends from upstate New York to the shores of Lake Michigan in the west and into Appalachia south of the Ohio River. The region has been in steady decline since the 1980s, when the industries began closing. The Great Recession was especially hard for Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, where I made these photographs. Entire blocks of downtowns were boarded up, factories were dismantled, and houses were abandoned to disintegration. People accustomed to a life of hard work lost their jobs, their homes, and their place in the world.

I think that my photographs are, in part, about the specific identity of a landscape — its topography, its architecture, its history, and the arrangement and decoration of back yards. At the same time, I try to make pictures whose details serve as clues to understanding the values, aspirations, hopes, and dreams of the people who live in that landscape. And setting aside geographical differences, the circumstances of the post-industrial Rust Belt reflect an increasingly ubiquitous inequality found throughout 21st-Century America, where most people aren’t as well off as they used to be, or as they would like to be.

My work in the Rust Belt isn’t finished. Even though the region’s inhabitants were instrumental in electing Donald Trump, their situation under his presidency is inevitably going to get worse. Despite campaign promises, jobs in the coal mines and steel mills are not coming back.

Andrew Borowiec, New York City and Akron, Ohio

Adrien Blondel

AdrienBlondelPhotography.com

I went traveling with my camera, with the idea to explore the concept of depaysement, a French word that represents the feeling one gets in a different place — the feeling of not being at home.

Depaysement is a peaceful feeling, a form of distancing yourself from your surroundings. There is melancholy to it too, the melancholy of suddenly having no past, of witnessing a world that has existed without you and will continue to do so. 

I find it more present in the mundanities, where things that are so normal they should feel familiar suddenly have a layer of mystery to them.

Strangers walk by, feeling just as distant and unaccessible as their surroundings. The figure of the stranger becomes a statue, integrated into the landscape.

— Adrien Blondel, San Francisco

Ariane Coerper

PhotografikArt.de

I’ve lived in Mannheim, Germany since 1979. I like to show my hometown and also some other cities in Europe in a different way. I have always been attracted to the architecture and the graphic aspect of the buildings, but also the landscape.

Mannheim and its environment have grown rapidly in recent years and are constantly changing. So I look with a camera or with a smartphone (as a sketchpad) at the different districts and try to document their change.

My photography is never purely documentary. With targeted processing I like to create pictures with a painterly touch. People are rarely in my pictures.

I love to slow down by taking photos and this usually happens best in the early hours of Sunday.

— Ariane Coerper, Mannheim, Germany

Luana Rigolli

LuanaRigolli.it

There is a picture of myself as a child that often comes to my mind: it’s me on my desk, reading the very first rudiments of geology that the teacher wanted us to memorize perfectly. Plate tectonics, continental drift, volcanoes…I was only 10 years old, but I already loved that subject: the idea of something emerging from the center of the earth to its surface, bringing destruction and fear, but also new forms and strange landscapes, was fascinating.

I remember the first time I went to Lanzarote: the transfer from the airport to the little village of Famara is a winding road through a land of grey lava and black ash. I could only see the outline of volcanoes, no trees, nothing else: something completely different from the Italian landscape I was used to. I fell in love with it.
Here I feel a strange energy that distorts my usual rhythm. I want to believe that the volcanoes destabilize me because they open a direct line that runs from the magma to the surface.
 
— Luana Rigolli, Gonzaga, Italy

Katalin Vágó-Lévai

KatalinVágó-Lévai.com

Bánhida as a Hungarian village was first mentioned in charters in 1288. Bánhida had a rich history during the next centuries. In 1947 it had been united with three other mining villages: Alsógalla, Felsőgalla and Tatabánya — under the name of Tatabánya. And so it became a part of a town, losing its autonomy.

In this series, called Houses, Smalltown, I’m mainly dealing with the marks of human presence in Bánhida, a kind of topographical research for ever-changing scenes of the town.

These scenes may not seem to be aesthetically pleasing in a common sense. They are unavoidable parts of our man-altered environment and include a lot of things that most people don’t even like to look at: poles, ramshackle fences, traffic signs, concrete, dirt road, sometimes uncultivated plants etc., — which I find really interesting and exciting.

I try to find a new balance, context and interpretation of these environmental elements.

— Katalin Vágó-Lévai, Tatabánya, Hungary


New Website for Catalin Cernat

 

CatalinCernat.com

The Romanian artist Catalin Cernat and I worked together over this past week to build a website for his photography at CatalinCernat.com.

I was happy to help Catalin because his work is graceful and thought-provoking. I believe that a good website is a huge step up from a Flickr or IG feed, or a Facebook page: it allows the artist to control the sequencing of his images and the text that enhances them.

English is not Catalin’s first language, so I helped him clean up the artist statements and his bio — using his own words. I also sequenced the photos for Catalin, which was much easier than sequencing my own work. (It helps to have distance.)

Catalin is the rare photographer who is able to photograph landscapes and portraits with equal fluency and skill. We presented 15 images in each category.

Please let us know what you think of the website. There is discussion on the 3,000-member  NLP Facebook group about Catalin’s new site.

I am interested in doing more work of this type: sequencing, editing, tweaking of the operation of a website. I will charge a modest fee. Please email me at Willson@NewLandscapePhotography.com to find out more about how I might help you.

— Willson Cummer, Fayetteville, New York, USA

Book Review: No One’s Land

No One’s Land

This stunning book from Ricardo Dominguez Alcaraz, a Spanish artist, is a step up in the world of print-on-demand. The images were selected and sequenced by José de Almeida, of the Camera Infinita publishing house. Peecho, the Amsterdam-based print-on-demand company, printed the book with subtle color and tonal variations.

My copy was mailed to me from Seattle, USA, and I understand that Peecho uses a distributed model of printing, with partners around the world.

Alcaraz told me that he and Almeida supplied images that they thought would print well through Peecho and were pleased with the first copy of the book they ordered. (Another Peecho user told me that he had to order a sample book and then resubmit his images after some toning adjustments.) In any case, the book is more attractive than ones I have made through Blurb, and quite a bit less expensive. I will be using Peecho in the future for my self-publishing.

Alcaraz’s book is full of intriguing images of suburbs, “intermediate places that are absolutely necessary for the city,” according to his introduction. My only complaint about the book is that Alcaraz’s thoughtful introduction is rendered in not-quite-perfect English. This is made up for by the eloquence of his images, which can be universally appreciated. He makes a poetry of wooden pallets, stunted trees, billboards, roadsigns and other ephemera of the suburbs.

Almeida skillfully sequenced the images into a flow that links one picture to another, building a work that is more powerful than any individual image. His touch demonstrates the value of a careful and thoughtful editor. Alcaraz told me in an email that he saw his work with fresh eyes when presented with Almeida’s sequences.

No One’s Land is a treat, and reminds me once again of how powerful the printed image can be when sequenced into a carefully-made book.

— Willson Cummer, Fayetteville, New York, USA