Chris Jerrey is a photographer and a student of photography. This website is used for educational purposes, to present images, thoughts and work in progress for the MA in Photography at the University of Falmouth, an accredited education programme.
Where work by other creators is included in the website, this is for educational purposes only, there is no monetary gain and the creator will be credited.
“If I am going to be associated with any genre, it would be landscape. However, the more one investigates the idea of landscape photography, the more chaotic the idea becomes.
The notion of landscape considerably predates photography itself. Landscape started as a genre of painting and is generally attributed to Nicolas Poussin (1594 – 1665). Despite the connotation of a tie to the Earth (“land”-scape), the genre was dominated by Arcadian ideas of perfected scenes, enhanced by scenic ruins, trees in their prime, beautiful human figures and the golden light of sunset.
When photographers started to take their cameras on the road in the 19th century, the influence of the landscape painters was very much with them. Photographers like Carleton Watkins were keen to show the land at its best, which usually meant carefully composed and free from human detritus. Ansel Adams is a name that always springs to mind when thinking about landscape photography, but even his beautiful pictures of the wilderness of Yosemite, were not what they appeared to be.
Before he made his name and attracted commissions, Adams had to fit in his photography with his day jobs, one of which was summer caretaker of the Sierra Club visitor facility in Yosemite Valley. Even in the early 1920s, Yosemite was a tourist destination, not a wilderness. Adams was astute enough the see the danger and use his work to campaign for the protection of Yosemite from the effects of tourism and development.
‘So landscape photography, whilst purporting to show the land at it’s best, was always handicapped by its origin in an entirely separate artistic pursuit. An adherence to the picturesque, literally, that which is worth making a picture of, excluded so much potential subject matter that eventually landscape photography burst apart to accommodate a whole range of outdoor photographic sub-genres that included seascapes, street scenes, industrial photography and environmental photography’.
(David Bate, The Key Concepts of Photography, p113)
The German couple Bernd and Hilla Becher were pioneers of industrial photography who found fame with their collections of pictures of German industrial infrastructure. But just to add the the genre mayhem, they received an award from the 1990 Venice Biennale in a sculpture category.
So how do I feel to be associated with a genre of photography that seems incapable of defining itself? It seems fine to me”.