So I have been thinking about 'truth' on and off a lot recently thanks to a comment John Umney made on here a while back...I'm sure it wasn't intended to provoke such extended thought, all the same it has...what to make of the importance and meaning of 'truth'. Not the ethical type of truth referred to in social documentary photography. I'm thinking about the notion of what we consider to be our truth...and how everybody's truth is 'a' truth, necessarily different yet equally valid. It intrigues me. And when I think about photos I have taken in the past and indeed tried to read of others, you are learning as much about the photographer as you are from what you see in the image they have taken. Is that realisation not a tad scary? Oh, you knew all along...I'm catching up slowly!!
If you consider this thought then with landscape photography I wonder if the same applies. The landscape is a shared canvas and in some ways harder to express your own truth on to it or of it. As essentially when the focus is the landscape, we are the transient ones...the landscape has been and will be here comparatively forever...it changes of course...but can you imagine being the landscape and viewing us...we're here for a mere blink of an eye...the land must have seen so much...what authority do we have?
So to define your own brand of truth I think can be challenging within the landscape photography genre...and then on the OCA Forum recently, I saw this referral to Ori Gersht work. It was Ori Gersht's recent work about the holocaust that for me showed how a landscape can be used as a reference point to a narrative derived from a social documentary perspective...the humanistic aspect of the land. It is quite a challenge to achieve I think!!
Coming at it from the other end, Heidi Lender's recent project, which has nothing to do with landscapes at all, struck a chord with me. Her conceptual self portraits 'give a humorous nod to women who can do it all'. Despite my own ideas being less developed or accomplished, my thought processes and personal motivations are not too far removed from hers with regards a mechanism of self expression. So how can this be applied to a landscape, is it relevant or useful to take this approach...or is flippant and meaningless? Particularly when the history of the landscape genre is steeped in objectivity, a quality so revered, at your peril are you to ignore it...I have made two attempts at my own subjective view of the landscape, but I will have to wait to see if the execution has been successful as it's all on film anyway.
Going back to the idea of truth, here is another experimental series looking at the landscape, with the eye or sensibility of a street photographer, albeit a rural slant (this has been discussed at length in previous blog posts). I don't consider these the real deal by any means, for one there is an absence of people - but you know my history with street photography...strangely I still feel compelled to keep trying.
So to conclude with truth, I have some way to go on this still as you can tell, but as a final comment, what truths can you determine about this photographer who focusses her gaze on a cow's arse? Case closed your honour!!!