Ex. 4.3: A subjective voice

I’ve spoken a little about this in previous exercises- that my view on landscapes is heavily influenced by my mental health condition.

Since childhood I have withdrawn from the view of the countryside and towards the urban sprawl of towns and cities. Growing up with a sense of generalised emptiness and loneliness, trips to the local South Downs National Park provided some deeply depressing void-like expanses with little to no human presence. They were frightening.

As such, over the years I’ve learned to dislike classical landscapes; rural scenes, the countryside. And this negative outlook and disinterest have invariably lead to me avoiding not only photographing those landscapes but also going to the places themselves.

One of the important elements of photography for me has been to capture subjects in an unusual way- usually at night. There’s a sense that every beautiful image of landscapes has been taken, and with far more skill than I could ever hope to. Do I want to add to the millions (if not billions) of these similar shots?

Urban (or at least those with urbanised elements) landscapes offer the association of human life without the intimacy of a portrait. My condition is put most at-bay by a strong vantage point over a swathe of buildings and infrastructure. I can maintain my safe distance from people whilst being right in the throng.

My assignments thus far have found me avoiding the traditional landscape as much as possible, instead always trying to find at least an aspect of a scene that appeals to me; light trails, ruins and other man-made structures.

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