The Dialectic of Depth in Landscape Photography

By Jan Barbara Fyfe.

Published by The International Journal of Visual Design

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: December 1, 2015 $US5.00

This paper discusses notions of time within the photographic image and how the use of multiple viewpoints, combined with movable focus and focal length within the single image, can shift focal planes and depth of field, offering another way of looking and challenging the Renaissance mode of seeing. The context of landscape photography is generally oriented through 15th century objects in landscape pictures, and organised around a focal point of converging sightlines. Perspective in landscape reorders time as well as space as contextually oriented, and photography has strengthened and popularised the perspectival vision (Tuan, 1977, p.123). Paraphrasing Maurice Pirenne, I do not accept that a picture in perspective is a replica of the retinal image produced by objects as seen by the artist. “It is rather a substitute of the actual objects themselves…” (Pirenne, 1948, p.15). I argue that Renaissance principles of landscape perspective contradict the way we, as humans, actually see and analyse, and that certain non-geometric principles do not adhere to these limitations, providing a different aesthetic for landscape.

Keywords: Landscape Photography, Perspective, Duration

The International Journal of Visual Design, Volume 9, Issue 4, December, 2015, pp.27-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: December 1, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 633.559KB)).

Jan Barbara Fyfe

Associate Lecturer, Photography, Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK