Seeing is believing

Take some time off work and go to an exhibition. I can recommend two. The first is at the National Maritime Museum in London and features the work of the iconic American landscape photographer Ansel Adams (1902 — 1984). He photographed natural and wilderness landscapes in west and southwest America, particularly in Yosemite National Park. By the use of a small lens aperture and a long exposure time the photographs are high definition and of superb quality. They are in black and white and sometimes sepia; some are small and some are as high as the gallery wall. There are no people in the photographs and the scale and viewpoint can be hard to fathom as the textures and patterns dominate. I had no idea how much he manipulated the prints in the dark room trying to capture a particular mood. Continue embellishing your photos in Photoshop — Adams would have loved it.

Adams believed that a photographer, like an artist, should create an image that reflected the emotion that was felt when taking the picture. This probably explains why those holiday snaps are so disappointing. The long climb of anticipation up the winding path to the viewpoint and the sudden burst of the panoramic view turns into a rather dull photo unless you take it with consummate skill and spend a day in the dark room.

Go and see how the master does it. I was re-energised and uplifted by these photographs — worth every penny of the entrance fee.

For ‘Looking at the View’ Tate Britain selected paintings, prints and photographs from three centuries of their collection to illustrate how we look at landscape. To their surprise (but, sorry, not mine) they concluded that people have been looking at the landscape in a similar way for rather a long time. From up high or down low, at ground level, through windows, archways and doorways and at all scales of landscapes, we have been looking outwards.Wholesale NFL Jerseys Most of the images contain people providing scale and context. When they face the viewer, the landscape says something about them; that lounging dandy looks just ready to inherit the park in the background. With their back to the viewer, the people become part of the character of the landscape and are often people working the land. A higher elevation brings drama but if the view is of cloudscape, the viewer will be at ground level. It seems we are all a little predictable when looking at landscape but perhaps this is the place in which we all belong.

I enjoyed both these exhibition because I connected with the content and the images refreshed the spirit. Make sure you find what refreshes you.

Ansel Adams / Photography from the Mountains to the Sea is at the National Maritime Museum in London until the 28th April 2013. Entry £7; concessions available. See http://www.rmg.co.uk/

Looking at the View is at Tate Britain until the 2nd June 2013. Free entry. See http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-britain

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