What is Landscape

landscape |ˈlan(d)ˌskāp| noun

1 all the visible features of an area of countryside or land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal : the giant cacti that dominate this landscape | a bleak urban landscape. a picture representing an area of countryside : [as adj. ] a landscape painter.

What is landscape? This may seem like a question with an obvious answer. However, when polled, random Facebook members came up with the following responses to these questions:

Defining LandscapeThe chart to the left summarizes the answers to question four.

  1. Would you define “landscape” as open space? 99% YES
  2. Would you define “landscape” as wilderness? 98% YES
  3. Would you define “landscape” as any piece of land outdoors? 85% YES
  4. When you think of artists who work in the “landscape” who comes to mind?

Landscape Photography ResponsesThis next chart summarizes the following question regarding one’s notion of  “Landscape Photography.”

  1. When you think of “Landscape Photography” what/who comes to mind? (click chart to enlarge)

Facebook members where asked to briefly describe their notion of “landscape. They following seven members wrote:

  1. “Landscape is the natural presentation of the earth/land around you.” ~ Kimberly Phipps
  2. “Something that is evocative of landscape, I have photographed rotting food, that I called landscapes, also I have photographed my poison oak so that it resembled a landscape. I have seen images of anatomy and physiology that when it is photographed in such a way it no longer resembles that which it is…and can become a landscape. I think my definition of music is also similar in that respect. I am envisioning vast fields of astroturf, and gigantic foam protuberances. I think that the definition also needs to include the artificial. Consider the man made mountains, beaches, and other simulated natural objects.” ~ Kevin Powers
  3. “An expanse of land that can be seen from a single viewpoint.” ~ Jimi Merrell
  4. “Landscape is the visual beauty of the natural day-by-day allowance provided by God resulting in His perfect creation. With that said, by this imperfect being on this imperfect planet, there is no landscape left — man has altered the landscape, above and below, beyond our ability to repair it. The same is true of ourselves, at least until we allow the perfect Gardener to renew our landscape.” ~ Dave Douglas
  5. “Landscape is that stuff around my house that continuously grows. I like landscape just as long as I can look at it… but do not have to attend to it.” ~ Gregory Phipps
  6. “Landscape is the image that stays in your mind after being somewhere and then remembering the broad views. When I think of the landscape of here – I think of rolling brown hills in summer and rolling green hills in winter. The draw of Yosemite and Glacier Parks are the incredible landscapes. Tahoe: I think of the view from the Flume trail. The biggest sweeping view that takes in the unique beauty of a place.” ~ Tania Smith
  7. “In my opinion the most effective landscapes convey a journey through the scene, that’s why it could just as readily be a cityscape or a tight macro shot of a few rice grains spread across a floor. I remember being amazed at some of Helmut Newton’s work on nude landscapes where he used beautiful lighting effects to create landscapes where the “land” was parts of the human body” ~ John Houston

As displayed in the aforementioned quotations, there are many interpretations of the term “landscape.” However abstract the term becomes, they all seem to reference the vast open space of our land. In the next post we will discuss the work of several artists who’s work deals within the status quo of this genre.

Also worth noting is the contribution by Magnum Photographers found on their site under Political Landscapes.


One Response to “What is Landscape”

  1. […] discussed in the “What is Landscape” survey posted to Facebook, there are many interpretations of the term […]