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History of Landscape Photography




In the context of art history 'landscapes' are a relative newcomer, only beginning to truly capture the public imagination with the onset of Romanticism some 200 years ago.


Poets such as William Blake and Painters including Constable and Turner began representing the sublime beauty of and power of nature. In both words and paintings they also documented the 'Dark Satanic Mills' and man's industrial encroachment upon those landscapes.


Before this time historical scenes and portraiture had been the preoccupation of most art with landscapes often seen as a poor relation.


Yet it was a landscape that filled the frame of the first ever 'photograph' taken by Joseph Nicephore Niepce in 1826. Using Camera Obscure and a home-made photo-sensitive varnish he began to paint with light: the sky, branches, barns and chimneys from an upper floor window of his family home.


Landscapes are innate. There is a strong irresistible impulse to paint them, describe them, photograph or document them as part of our human journey. Landscapes are those scenes; those moments which come to overwhelm us. They encapsulate something so beautiful, vast or even terrifying about our world as to be almost indescribable.


We have all stood, witness to nature, our senses pounded by its power, sedated by its beauty or awestruck by man’s' architectural prowess and control of the elements. Landscape photography is an attempt to capture such moments in order to allow others a fleeting glimpse of a world we briefly inhabited if only for the time it takes for a shutter to click.


So enough about Landscape Photography history. What do you need to know as a beginning photographer to take great landscape pictures? Well, here's a basic Landscape Photography primer.

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