The day before climbing Mount Fuji, I stayed in Fujiyoshida, a few miles from the mythical mountain. Of course, the Japanese town is far from prestigious, but its apparent beauty is precisely what attracts and interests me. Moreover, as I discover it, and as I delve into its nooks and crannies, its contrasts appear to me and captivate me.
It’s raining. The streets of Fujiyoshida are deserted as if the city had been abandoned. But housing, crossroads, dead ends, parking lots speak for the absent population.
A scene painted on a garage door evokes the history of Japan and the patriotic sentiment of its owner. Household and computer equipment thrown away speaks of technology and Japanese capitalism. It suggests a hasty departure, an impression which is underlined by the wild vegetation seen in a parking lot or a cramped no-man’s land, old posters plastered on a dilapidated wall.
But ruin, decline, exile even, are merely an appearance, an illusion quickly swept away. In fact, the tidy habitat and open shutters evoke life like the gleaming cars, flowerbeds, advertising signs or that of a bar…
My journey through Fujiyoshida is formally punctuated by right angle shots and blind spots, which precede the discovery of new spaces.
— Hubert Michel, Paris
The Time of Water
My family’s past is connected with the places flooded to create the Rybinsk Reservoir on the Volga River, in Russia. This reservoir was once the largest man-made body of water on Earth.
Joseph Stalin forced more than 130,000 people to leave their homes and businesses between 1937 and 1941 to make way for the reservoir. Stone houses were destroyed, while wooden ones were dismantled and transported for use elsewhere.
Those who became homeless were given money, but had to find new homes on their own. Most people moved somewhere nearby, but some died, unable to survive the shock, the cold, illness and poverty. About 700 villages were flooded, along with over 50 churches, three monasteries, wealthy estates with surrounding territories, gardens and parks. The whole city of Mologa was flooded.
I was drawn to these places, to find people who would tell about the flooding. Articles from books were not enough. I needed live witnesses, those who kept the stories of their relatives. I needed photos, documents, letters and evidence. It is impossible to remain indifferent now, as it is impossible to change what happened. For a long time, there was a ban on talking about Mologa and people were afraid to share information. Even when it became possible, most people remained silent.
The portraits in my project are of people whose families were displaced by the flooding. They now live within 15 miles of the reservoir. I made the landscape photographs from a boat on the Rybinsk Reservoir or near its shore.
— Daria Nazarova, St. Petersburg, Russia
“Your own photography is never enough. Every photographer who has lasted has depended on other people’s pictures too – photographs that may be public or private, serious or funny, but that carry with them a reminder of community.”
— Robert Adams
I started the New Landscape Photography blog 10 years ago today, and have published the work of almost 700 artists.
As people’s interests have moved from blogs and websites to social media, the submissions here have fallen off. I used to get three or four a week. Now I might get that many in three months. I’ve thought about stopping operations and just preserving the site as an archive. But my favorite part remains, though less frequent: the interactions with the artists who want to share their work with my readers.
Most work that I review is excellent. I select five images from the 10 submitted and sequence them. I take a more active role with the statements. I want them to be clear, inviting, personal and thoughtful. They usually are already. I’m impressed with the English-language skills of artists around the world, but sometimes a few tweaks are needed for clarity or accuracy.
Six years ago I created a Facebook chat group — also called New Landscape Photography. It has grown to about 3,500 members, with collegial sharing of images, questions and ideas. Though the location of activity has changed, it goes on. I know that I depend on other people’s pictures. And so I’ll also keep this blog going. Please let me know if you’d like to share work here.
The picture below is from my current project — investigating the 1,000-mile Finger Lakes Trail, a footpath that winds through much of New York State and its public forests. I’ve been exploring primarily on the run.
— Willson Cummer
For many years I have spent my summer holidays on the Riviera dei Fiori. It is a place I know very well, and to which I have already dedicated photographic series in the past.
Every time I come back here I enjoy taking long walks with the camera along the coast — from Ventimiglia, on the border with France, towards Sanremo to San Lorenzo a Mare. The images that make up this series are from the last two summers I spent in these places.
I have tried to capture very marginal and ordinary aspects of the landscape, which have a strong fascination for me.
— Barbara Barberis, Milan, Italy