Landscape A4 Critical review

Landscape A4 Essay Thoughts

The Brief

Write a 2,000-word essay (excluding any quotes) on one of the areas of landscape practise you have encountered during this course so far.

The critical review is an opportunity for you to gain a greater insight into an area, theme, debate or other issue relating to landscape photography that is of particular interest to you. You must choose a topic that’s relevant to your own practice in some way, in order to help you to contextualise your practice and to show that your understanding of landscape photography is informed by relevant practitioners. You should include an in-depth evaluation of the work of key practitioners that you reference in your essay. Where appropriate, also reference your own individual images, bodies of work and ongoing or forthcoming projects.

Your written work should clearly show that you have engaged with theoretical, historical and cultural debates around landscape practice within photography and visual culture, and demonstrate that you have developed academically as well as creatively.

Finding a topic for an essay on Landscape Practice is a hard thing to do, I must admit to struggling to get to find a topic and to having some trepidation over the prospect of writing the first formal essay for this degree. The execution was more pleasurable than expected, and I found it easier than I imagined. Once I had the topic I found it quite easy to find the research and to write the essay.

My first idea was about the demonisation of drone photography in the press and how this was adversely affecting my ability to work and use my drone for landscape photography. When I pitched this to my tutor I could tell he was not at all enamoured with the idea, so I then pitched an essay on the accessibility of the landscape for disabled people as my leg has been severely preventing me getting out into the countryside to take landscape photography.

Even I thought this was going to be the wrong topic and would make for a rather lousy essay. I was utterly thrown by the lack of a subject, and it took me a long time to get my head back in the game. As often happens, my very academic daughter came to the rescue by saying why don’t you do what I do when writing a dissertation or essay and form a question to answer. This turned out to be the best bit of advice, and it unblocked me. I found if I started with a question and did the research that I could modify the question based on research as the idea solidified.

I started with the question:

‘Souls’ in the landscape; Does photographing a landscape enhance or detract from the landscape itself.

As I did the research I discovered that it was quite hard to work with this idea and I modified the title to:

‘Souls’ in the landscape; Does photographing a landscape change our relationship with the landscape itself?

I wrote the first draft and submitted it to my Tutor.