Write a short reflective account of your own views on the picturesque (around 300 words). Consider how the concept of the picturesque has influenced your own ideas about landscape art, and in particular your ideas about what constitutes an effective or successful landscape photograph.


When thinking about the picturesque, I usually think about the works of artists such as Constable and Turner. My interpretation is that of a scene that is peaceful and pretty, such as the rolling countryside or depictions of nature. I understand that the Picturesque is not limited to this, however, this is my mental image, of a picturesque scene.

While I enjoy such images, they are not my subject of choice, when creating my own art. I like many am guilty of letting the word picturesque influence my view on what constitutes a landscape image. This view is reinforced by the landscape view encapsulated by the Royal Photographic Society, the PAGB and other institutions that adjudicate photographic competitions that almost have a formula for a landscape.

I tend to think of a landscape as something broken into layers, with a strong foreground, and an epic middle, or far ground, epitomised by the work of photographers, like Ansel Adams. I feel that for a landscape to be successful it needs a subject, be it a landmark like a waterfall, river or mountain, or some other structure, like a bridge or building. I am not keen on landscape images that are just bands of light and colour, though I do appreciate the work. If I am honest, I enjoy a landscape with more detail, like a broken-down castle, old wall or a bridge. I probably like the cliché of a landscape; However, I do really enjoy images that divert wildly from these norms, and probably away from the picturesque. My personal preference, would be to create a landscape image with more of a fantasy feel, maybe even a dark overtone, rather than the pretty chocolate box covers that do so well in Camera Club Competitions.