Getting Intimate With a Landscape

I learned about the idea of intimate landscape photography a little while back, (from photographer, essence of place teacher and friend Bo Mackison).

I am most definitely intrigued by the concept of this style of photography, which in very shorthand form (from Bo) =

photographs that typically do not include a horizon line, or when the horizon is present, conveys only a hint of where the image is photographed. The grandeur of nature is captured in a smaller space. Less is more.

But what also intrigues me is the notion of getting intimate with a landscape.

Although I hadn’t really thought it about it as such before, I can see that this is something I’ve been learning to do for some time now – in fact, probably for as long as I can remember.

I guess the elements of my practice would include:

  • walking – the pace lends itself to familiarity, to intimacy
  • repetition – walking in the same place, over and over, to get to know it really well
  • eating picnics – sitting on the earth to eat is surely one of the simplest and best ways to get close! I try and practice this in all seasons
  • photography – learning to notice and appreciate different colours, textures, patterns, lights, from a whole range of angles. I guess this depends on how you practice photography, but I love to get down on the earth to watch water, or wildflowers, or the light on a path, and again, this is a simple but powerful way to feel – literally – earth connected
  • living in Scotland – I am so lucky with this, there are wild and beautiful places aplenty where I can walk, and often meet no-one, except occasionally one man and his dog

I’m sharing some photographs below of a recent walk in one such quiet place.

As I like this way of expressing the mood and feel of a walk, a place, a day or even a picnic in many photos rather than one… you might be seeing more of this style 😉

First: the classic landscape view looking up the path to the hills – a scattering of snow on top

wald path

The path is dominated by the dyke and fencing that run alongside it. First, looking up:

dry stane dyke

and here, back down again

path down the hill

Shifting perspective lets you see the landscape in a different way – like looking at the hills reflected in a puddle

puddle hills

Or bending down and noticing the path itself, as well as the hills beyond.

the path

I hope you like the photographs – feedback and thoughts about preferences are always welcome!

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The photographs are from the Wald Path, that cuts through the Lowther hills in South West Scotland.

I wrote about a summer version of the walk, including wildflowers in bloom and a sunny picnic! here: Plugging Into the Source.

For more on Bo’s explanation and illustration of the photography concept, please do check out her work on intimate landscape photography here.

7 thoughts on “Getting Intimate With a Landscape”

  1. So lovely! And I would agree that intimacy with landscape is something you’ve been doing in such beautiful ways.

    I love Bo’s work too!

    1. Thank you Kimberley, and thank you! I’m glad you know and love Bo’s work too, I am glad to discover how many people are fans 🙂

  2. I’m new here – Joanna – having been recently introduced by Catherine….and also an old friend of Bo’s. Love how you speak to the intimacy of landscape. I – too – practice many of the same elements when out practicing my art.

    1. Thank you, and hello Marcie. Isn’t it amazing how these connections can be forged through a shared appreciation of landscape, light, and the lens? 🙂

  3. This has really grabbed me. I love the idea of becoming intimate with the landscape and exploring that in photographs taken from different perspectives. Today I particularly like the one of the path – it seems to be resonating with me. I always look all around me but rarely down at the path I am walking on, where my feet are treading, and I am probably missing so much. I am without a camera at the moment, mine having broken, but I will keep this in mind for when I manage to get another. In the mean time I look forward to seeing how this progresses with you.

    1. Dear Jacqui, so nice to hear from you. That photo of the path has resonated with other people too – I think perhaps it is something to do with the remembrance of ‘the’ path… Anyway, like you, I find it good to shift perspectives and getting down low always shows me something new. I hope you get your hands on another camera soon to practice and explore.

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