Really I'm an accidental photographer. My failure to get the grades I needed for a place at university led me down an unexpected path. I often think doing badly in my final years at school was the best thing I did. Making photos and writing about the art and craft of photography has been life ever since and one I cannot imagine swapping for another.
What attracts me to Intimate landscapes?
There is a mystery wrapped in every photograph. Each is unquestionable proof of an individual point in space and time; they are true. And yet they lie. They have the power of allusion, the power to transcend their subject. For me, photography isn’t about the subject, this is just raw material. What matters is how photography changes our perception of the world. Every photograph is a transformation and I’m intrigued by how making an image effects this change and how this affects the viewer.
The intimate approach has several beneficial consequences. It has often been observed that the art of photography is essentially about abstraction, both in the sense of an extraction of information and the Modernist sense of concentration on form, geometry and light. The selection of an area framed in the camera extracts that selection from the greater reality, and the resulting rendition in a two dimensional form reinforces this abstraction, this divorce, from the 'real world'.
A successful photograph, be it a vista or on any other scale, is a distillation, the reduction of the chaos of our wider experience to an easily digested and visually satisfying essence where what is excluded is as important as what is included.
As John Szarkowski put it "To quote out of context is the essence of the photographer’s craft. His central problem is a simple one: what shall he include, what shall he reject? The line of decision between in and out is the picture’s edge."
Intimate landscapes imply a certain feeling of being enclosed, but do not deny the existence of the wider world, rather they can allude to it. Through a careful choice of content and framing allusion can be a powerful tool allowing us to infer a world, which lies tantalisingly out of reach, surrounding the chosen frame.
Gallery of some Intimate Scapes by David...
A tip from David
Always be yourself; unless you can be Batman, then always be Batman!
Seriously, there’s no point making images that follow the latest fashion if you don’t actually truly feel something about those subjects. “In the style of” simply doesn’t cut it when it comes to making Art or art. There have been many, many schools of painting over the last couple of hundred years, with innumerable adherents, but the only practitioners who still stand out are those who truly believed in the aesthetic or philosophical values of that school. There have always been hangers on who wanted fame or fortune by association but only the devoted were able to innovate and take their art forwards.
Far too often "stylism" is confused with style. The former is characterised by overriding concern with form and surface gloss for their own sake. If we want to make art we mustn’t get caught in the trap of thinking that dung rolled in glitter is anything more than dung. True style, on the other hand, is the ultimate expression of an artist’s intellectual and emotional concerns. Form in an image, as in a well-designed object, should follow on from function rather than fashion. Trying to show the subject in the simplest and most powerful way will inevitably give rise to appropriate form. (By the way, when I refer to ‘subject’ I don’t simply mean the object photographed. The subject of a photograph is the totality of the meaning within the image. This, of course, encompasses the description of a portion of reality but, crucially, it also includes the themes, ideas and symbols enclosed within the frame by the photographer. A picture of a tree isn’t always just a picture of a tree!)
Fundamentally, artists need to be true to themselves and not follow the herd.
I have spent forty years travelling the world with my camera and my passion for the art and craft of photography continues to grow.
Childhood holidays in the Lake District and Cornwall led to a love of landscape and a desire to try and express my sense of wonder through art. Photography became a fascination as soon as I watched a print bloom into life in a developing tray. I was accepted for the prestigious Film & Photographic Arts course at PCL in London and graduated with a BA Hons in 1983.
Stumbling out into the light and trying to make a living led to commissions for clients as diverse as the BBC, Country Living and a number of pet food manufacturers (best not to ask!).
After almost twenty years as an editorial and advertising photographer, a chance encounter with Charlie Waite resulted in me leading my first photographic workshop. Teaching photography in the great outdoors to eager participants proved to be both very enjoyable and creatively stimulating. I became as passionate about teaching as I had always been about photography. Since 1999, I have run over 200 workshops and tours. I still always look forward to my next!
Around 2000, I began to write about photography for magazines. Joe Cornish introduced me to his friend Eddie Ephraums and a plan was born to produce a book on the whys of landscape photography - as opposed to the hows. Landscape Within was published in 2004 and four years later I wrote Landscape Beyond. The tricky third opus is still knocking around in my head.
See here a terrific you tube video where David compares wide aspect landscapes with intimate scenes.
The content and images on this page are the copyright of David Ward