88_DO02_Hopgood_Hayeur_L’Écume d’étang
Isabelle Hayeur L’Écume d’étang, Underworlds series, 2015.
Photo : courtesy of the artist & Galerie Hugues Charbonneau

Landscape Photography and its Temporal Register

Roger Hopgood
Discussions of landscape photography are often aided by long-standing aesthetic categories such as the sublime and the picturesque. Identifying whether an image adheres in some way to a pre-existing treatment of content, composition, or use of colour and light can provide a basis for commentary on creative intention and possible meaning.

One example of this would be the way in which the work of Edward Burtynsky has been closely linked to the industrial sublime (not least by Burtynsky himself).1 1 - Edward Burtynsky’s 2011 touring exhibition was titled Edward Burtynsky: The Industrial Sublime. Such a connection enables a work to be framed within a set of aesthetic and discursive concerns, which in turn generates a dialogue between the work and an evolving body of theoretical ideas. Something that seems almost overlooked, however, is the expression of time within the landscape photograph. Perhaps more than any other genre, landscape seems to evade any sense of the photographic instant and instead “speaks” with a more enduring temporal register. In this essay, I hope to propose some ideas on what this temporal register might be and to consider whether a sense of time within landscape photography might in some way have an impact on its meaning.

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This article also appears in the issue 88 – Landscape - Landscape

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