David Muench thoughts – or – Are you a Real Landscape Photographer?
OK – I tend to be a quiet kind of guy, enjoy my own company, and conversationally generally tend to agree with most people most of the time. Very British and all that.
However, I occasionally wonder, as I see the increasing army of gear-toting, backsack carrying, tech-savvy people, all standing around close together taking in the dawn and dusk shoots – how many of these people are actually ‘Real Photographers’?
Are you a ‘Real Landscape Photographer’
So this article might not be such an easy read for some that call themselves Landscape Photographers…
- Do you know how to pronounce the name David Muench? If you answered ‘who?’ deduct one point.
- Do you enjoy spending hours slowly leafing through the images in a large-format coffee-table photography book by A Photographic Master that cost you an arm and a leg. If you answered – ‘but isn’t that the same as scrolling thru my Instagram feed’, deduct five points.
- Do you enjoy reading essays on photography to understand the way people approach their art, and to broaden your horizons at the same time? If you answered ‘of course, I watch a lot of YouTube ‘how to process clips’, deduct two points.
Hmmmm – do you get my idea? How many ‘photographers’ that you see have basically upgraded their phones to a camera, bought a whole heap of gizmos and gadgets without ever actually ‘feeling’ what they see through a viewfinder.
How do you Learn?
It’s 2022 at the time of writing (it was 2021 when I started writing, sigh…). I find I am wondering more and more, as I look at my Instagram feed all too often (guilty as charged M’Lud) whether those that post oh-so-regularly are actually ‘real’ landscape photographers or not.
Bear with me – I might have a rant. This from Wikipedia…
An atelier (French: [atəlje]) is the private workshop or studio of a professional artist in the fine or decorative arts, where a principal master and a number of assistants, students, and apprentices can work together producing pieces of fine art or visual art released under the master’s name or supervision.
OK – so this gist of this is that to get to good – we all need to start somewhere. And learn. And keep on learning. I don’t have a degree but boy, have I read up on all things photographic over the years and man, I have a library full of fine art books. There, I went from a Boy to a Man – no pun intended!
Who do you Connect to?
Let’s take this further, who do you connect to…
- Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, David Muench (OK, HCB wasn’t only/necessarily a landscape photographer, but – have you seen his landscapes?)
- Ken Duncan, Peter Lik
- Marc Adamus, Chris Burkhard
The first three photographers were real trailblazers in what they did. Look at their work, and you will understand just how far ahead of the game they were. True pioneers.
The second duo took what had gone before and took it to extraordinary new levels with panoramic cameras and a fresh approach to the use of light. They also brought landscapes to the masses, all the while using film, which it must be remembered was – and still is – expensive. Each shot cost money.
Lastly, two photographers who have embraced the digital age and social media. Both very current in their very different approaches.
How do you connect to photography?
I know a fair few photographers. We occasionally meet up and share stories, plans, and eat good food and drink nice … well you know. In doing this, I do get ideas from my peers. And some of these are very very good ideas indeed. Sadly, I also get a lot of input and suggestions of really bad ways to spend my time.
Talking about bad. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Images are small, quickly scrolled past, and true engagement is minimal.
Me? – I read magazines, the printed versions. I scour through the essays that have been deemed by the Editor as well-written enough to print. And for the magazine to pay for. I buy coffee table books. This approach makes me think differently, and challenge myself. I visit galleries and stand and wonder at Big Prints on the wall. It costs a lot more to do a Big Print than post on Instagram. I know – I have put on exhibitions and they are not cheap to do.
I would seriously encourage you to do both. I fear that in 2022 the former is the way that most approach their craft. I understand social media has a place, but it is not the only place – just ask David Muench!
I try to write articles that might teach – I fear this one has asked more questions than inform – but are you ready to answer them?