Manipulating Landscape Photography
Familiarity dulls the senses, and
landscape photography is no exception: it's hard to look objectively at
a scene that greets you day after day. Manipulating the landscape makes
people look afresh at a vista they pass by constantly without a second
glance and offers the advantage of surprise.
Mixing genres of photography is a
valuable way to exploit this surprise element. People like to be able
to give pictures neat labels, and combining different types of imagery
undermines this ability, introducing ambiguity - is it a portrait or a
still-life or a landscape?
In making these types of pictures, the
most important consideration is the relative scale of object and
setting. Images such as these work best when landscape and object
compete for the viewer's attention. The human figure is the most potent
of all introduced objects, and therefore an element that needs to be
handled with great care. The figure draws the eye, and can easily
dominate the view, so that even a tiny figure on the horizon is a
counterpoint for a towering landscape.
Manipulated pictures are by definition
contrived in the broadest sense of the word. Yet to be successful, the
images must not look conspicuously artificial or labored. Striking the
right balance is largely a matter of experience, but even veteran
photographers probably discard dozens of images for every one they use.
So you should be prepared to shoot plenty of film, and to edit
ruthlessly when you see the results.