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I Have No Defence

It’s VERY frustrating that some locations and representations of them, have become so fundamentally iconic to landscape photography, that even visiting them gives you a feeling of déjà vu. Now this over familiarity with certain locations, (even before one has even visited them) not only dampens the spirit of adventurous discovery, but poses even greater problems to the landscape photographer who is trying to develop and present new fresh approaches, especially when many of the dramatic places already have their own representations cemented in the popular consciousness.


On one level, even attempting to working in ‘these’ locations can feel akin to plagiarism, especially when a particular image has become so iconically tied to a location and photographer, it can feel futile to even point the camera in the same direction, in fear of diminishing one’s own creative integrity. Yes, yes, I’m aware of the popular urban myth perpetuated by photographic journalists, that encourages attempting new insights on the familiar, but frustratingly the room for creative manoeuvre is already pissing in the wind. Even then, assuming you have managed to find some creative shelter from the prevailing westerly’s, you then have to contend with flushing the said ‘icon’ out of your head, in order to explore fresh inspiration in the hope of unearthing something creatively unique. Ironically this approach can force the congruent photographer to ignore the obvious photogenic elements, leaving them to contend with lesser vaguer aesthetics.


Then, in an act of lasting degradation, when the photographer has dealt with the self induced shame, and struggled with the creative exploration and finally come up with something personally insightful, (however slight the movement forward is), they then have the final indignity of ‘comparison’ to deal with. How can something that is so loved, so widely published in the psyche of millions be distorted by new representations? How can David even contemplate approaching Goliath? Is there really any point?


Go on, I’ve asked for it... I ask for no mercy... I have no defence...Bring on the torrent... Open the flood gates...I deserve it........................


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Taken on February 16, 2009