BA Phot

LP&E: Part 2 - Landscape as Journey

Project 1 - Surveys

- Back - Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6

Project 2.1 Surveys - Exc 2.1 - Project 2.2 The Road - Exc 2.2 - Project 2.3 Typologies and New Topographies - Research - Project 2.4 Mapping and Other Technologies - Exc 2.3 - Project 2.5 Land Art - Exc 2.4 - Project 2.6 Psychogeography and ‘Edgelands’ - Exc 2.5 - Conclusion - Upsum - Eval

Adams, R. - Baltz - Bechers - Brown - Coekin - Deal - Friedlander - Frith - Fulton - Gohlke - Graham - Henner - Hofer - Kander - Khan - Kruger - Levine - Long - Nichol - Nixon - O’Sullivan - Rafman - Ramirez - Rickard - Ruscha - Russell - Schott - Shore - Soth - Spencer - Thompson - Titchner - Watkins - Watson - Wessel - Wolf - Wylie - Zahn

Campany - Debord - Dyer - Kelsey - Snyder - Sontag

Appropriation - Axes of commonality - Cultural appropriation - Google SV - New Topographics - Nichism

Preamble - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Asg.1 - Asg.2 - Asg.3 - Asg.4 - Asg.5 - Asg.6 - I&P - C&N - EyV -

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The test of a work of art is our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good. Stanley Kubrick, quoted in Michael Kenna, Beyond Architecture, 2019, p.11

Project Page Started Complete
2.1 Surveys 60 22 Nov 3 Dec
2.2 The Road 67 3 Dec 26 Dec
2.3 Typologies and New Topographies 73 27 Dec 9 Jan
2.4. Mapping and Other Technologies 79 10 Jan 13 Jan
2.5 Land Art 84 13 Jan 18 Jan
2.6 Psychogeography and ‘Edgelands’ 87 19 Jan 20 Jan
2.1 Territorial Photography 66 3 Dec 15 Dec
2.2 Explore a road 72 26 Dec 30 Dec
2.3 Is Appropriation Appropriate? 83 13 Jan 13 Jan
2.4 Text in Art 86 17 Jan 9 Mar
2.5 Edgelands 92 20 Jan 20 Jan
2. A Journey 93 5 Jan  
Bob Zahn, The Television Will Not Be Revolutionized, 2018 - 21 Jan 23 Jan

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[22Nov21] The cmat. states, "Part Two will examine landscape photography as a tool for research – enabling engagement with a place and a means o f exploration – and the relationship between landscape practice and cartography" (p.60).

[2Dec] The two main branches of landscape photography on C19th were artistic self expression (following on from the painting tradition covered in Part 1) and the lesser known topographic.

The topographic breaks down into several strands, including technical, academic, commercial and geopolitical. And don't forget the 1975 New Topographies exhibition, covered on p.3.

Photography's seemingly objective technical ability to document led to its use in this variety of non-artistic applications. The cmat. describes this as naïve, but let's not forget another favourite quote from Sue Sontag,

photographs … owe their existence to a loose cooperation (quasi-magical, quasi-accidental) between photographer and subject - mediated by an ever simpler and more automated machine, which is tireless, and which even when capricious can produce a result that is interesting and never entirely wrong. Sontag, 1973, p. 41

… my emphasis on the never entirely wrong — the bold tends not to show up on the font I use for quotations.

John Thompson
b: 1837 Edinburgh
d: 1921 Edinburgh
LSE - Wikipedia
Francis Frith
b: 1822 Chesterfield
d:1898 Cannes
Brand - Wikipedia

John Thompson is mentioned again (first met in Part 1) with a quote from Jeffrey (1981, p.64), that Thompson was "surprisingly uninterested in landscape", but instead used photography to document social concerns in his extensive travels. Jeffrey's judgment might be considered rather harsh — while Thompson published the Street Life series (1877) depicting social deprivation, examples of his landscape photographs are plentiful and Jeffrey's interpretation of Thompson's approach, after the passage of 100 years, is a subjective one.
More generally, photography was used by the British survey movement, including the National Photographic Records Assoc. founded by Sir Benjamin Stone, archive at the V&A, "Its aim was to record the ancient buildings, folk customs and other 'survivals' of historical interest for the future" (V&A). The Association's concerns included the loss of the 'natural' landscape and traditional crafts to the growing industrialisation and so it is somewhat ironic that it readily adopted the new technology of the camera as an ameliorative.
Francis Frith was another wide traveller who recognised the commercial potential in photographs and his brand is still active.

John Thompson John Thompson Frith Frith
Box A
1. John Thompson, Island Pagoda, from Foochow and the River Min, c. 1871
2. John Thompson, The Crawlers, London, 1876–7
3. Francis Frith, The Hypaethral Temple, Philae, 1857
4. Francis Frith, Northam Village, 1890
© the artists, their agents or their estates
img: 1-2; 3.; 4. LPE p.61.

Meanwhile in the US, landscape photography that can be categorised as topographic found multiple applications in uncharted territories and at a time of industrialisation.

Andrew Joseph Russell
b: 1829 New Hampshire
d: 1902 NY
Yale - Wikipedia
Carleton Watkins
b: 1829 New York
d: 1916 Napa, CA.
Guardian - Wikipedia

Andrew Joseph Russell was commissioned by the Union Pacific Railroad to document their developments, used in publicity exercises to "help secure political and financial support" (LPE p.62). Russell is also well known for his Civil War photographs.
Carleton Watkins performed a similar role for railroad, lumber and mining companies and is referred to in Snyder's essay in Mitchell (2002) which is Exc 2.1. The cmat. quotes Snyder on Watkins as reaffirming "the belief in a western American Eden" (Snyder in Mitchell, 2002, p.189). Watkins' early photographs were instrumental in the preservation and eventual status of Yosemite, later favoured by Ansel Adams (see Part 1) as a subject (see Guardian article).
For Watkins, see also Exc. 2.1.

Timothy O’Sullivan
b: Ireland or NY
d: Staten Island age 42
Site - Wikipedia
Box B
Russell's Civil War Photographs
Dover Publications, 1982
img: Amazon
The cmat. contrasts Watkins' work with that of Timothy O’Sullivan, who we met in Exc 1.2, describing O’Sullivan's as "bleaker and arguably more challenging" (LPE, p.63) and notes that he also photographed the Civil War (as did Russell). Geological surveys were undertaken by the US Army until the mid-1860s when the work was gradually turned over to professional surveyors and O’Sullivan worked as a photographer for surveyors with the brief of producing photographs that “give a sense of the area” (LPE p.63). The cmat. suggests that Timothy O’Sullivan's work "represent[s] the land as alien, inhospitable and unwelcoming" (p.64) and later, "[p]erhaps some of the trauma of the scenes he witnessed at Gettysburg and elsewhere was projected onto the landscape of the Great Basin" (p.65). I do not detect such influences and, in any case, Russell photographed the Civil War too.
See also Exc. 2.1 on Watkins and O’Sullivan.
My thought of Dunes (fig. C6) was that it a nicely framed and interestingly composed image that echoes Fenton's 1855 self-absented portrait from the Crimea (see C&N Part 3).

Russell logoTimothy O’SullivanTimothy O’SullivanWatkins Timothy O’Sullivan
Box C
1. Andrew Joseph Russell, Construction train Bear River, 1864-69
2. Andrew Joseph Russell, The ceremony for the driving of the golden spike at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869.
3. Carleton Watkins, Smelting Works, New Almaden, California, 1863
4. Timothy O’Sullivan, The Harvest of Death: Union dead on the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, photographed July 5–6, 1863
5. Timothy O’Sullivan, Witches Rock, Utah, 1869
6. Timothy O’Sullivan, Sand Dunes, Carson Desert, Nevada , 1867
© the artists, their agents or their estates
img: 1. Yale; 2. wikipedia; 3. LPE p 62; 4-6 LPE pp.59-65.

Exercise 2.1 - Territorial Photography

Watkins vs. O'Sullivan

This is shown on a separate page.

Criticism of O'Sullivan when compared to Watkins are ideological.


[27Dec] Much of early landscape photography is commercial and there arguments between the "connoisseurs" and the "contextualists" (Grunberg) whether it should be gallerised.

LP&E 2.1

LP&E Part 2 References

Alexander, J, Conroy, A, Hughes, A, & Lundy, G (2019) Landscape, Place and Environment [LPE]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.

Badger, G. (2007) The genius of photography. London: Quadrille Publishing.

Barthes, R. (1980) Camera Lucida. London: Random House.

Bogre, M (2019) Documentary photography reconsidered. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Campany, D. (2003) Almost the same thing: some thoughts on the collector-photographer [online]. Available from [Accessed 1 January 2021].

Campany, D. (2018) So present, so invisible. Rome: Contrasto.

Casper, J. (n.d.) A Series of Unfortunate Events [online]. Available from [Accessed 12 January 2021].

Cotton, C. (2014) The photograph as contemporary art. (3rd edn.) London: Thames & Hudson.

Cotton, C. (2020) The photograph as contemporary art. (4th edn.) London: Thames & Hudson.

Dyer, G. (2012) How Google Street View is inspiring new photography [online]. Available from [Accessed 12 January 2021].

Freidus, M., Lingwood, J. & Slemmons, R. (1991) Typologies: nine contemporary photographers. Newport: Newport Harbor Art Museum.

Frizot, M. (ed.) (1998) A new history of photography. Cologne: Könemann.

Grundberg, A. (1999) Edward Weston's Late Landscapes, in Crisis of the Real, NY: Aperture, pp. 24-30.

Grundberg, A. (2021) How photography became contemporary art. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press.

Jeffrey, I. (1981) Photography, a concise history. London: Thames & Hudson.

Kenna, M. (2019) Beyond Architecture. Munich: Prestel Verlag.

Mitchell, WJT, (ed) Landscape and Power (2nd ed) (2002) Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Newhall, B (1982) The history of photography. London: Secker & Warburg.

O'Hagan, S. (2009) One step beyond [online]. Available from [Accessed 17 January 2022].

O'Hagan, S. (2010) New Topographics: photographs that find beauty in the banal [online]. Available from [Accessed 27 December 2021].

Parr, M. & Badger, G. (2014) The Photobook: A History Volume III. London: Phaidon.

Phaidon (2015) What's Ed Ruscha saying with his "word" works? [online]. Available from [Accessed nn January 2022].

Salvesen, B. (2010) New Topographics . Göttingen: Steidl & Partners.

Schuman, A. (2004) "Sleeping by the Mississippi", An Interview with Alec Soth [online]. Available from [Accessed 26 December 2021].

Snyder, J. Territorial Photography, in Mitchell, WJT, (ed) Landscape and Power (2nd ed) (2002) Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Sontag, S. (1973) On photography. NY: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.

Strother, ZS. A Photograph Steals the Soul: The History of an Idea 2013, in Peffer, J. and Cameron, EL. (eds.), Portraiture & Photography in Africa, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, pp. 177-212.

Tate (2003) Press Release Cruel and Tender: The Real in the Twentieth-Century Photograph [online]. Available from [Accessed 1 January 2021].

Wells, L (2011), Land Matters : Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity. London: Taylor and Francis. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [Accessed 17 January 2022].

Page created 22-Nov-2021 | Page updated 06-Nov-2022