The view from Castle Crag over Borrowdale on a dull Boxing Day.
Marcel Proust wrote:
"True beauty is indeed the one thing incapable of answering the expectations of an over-romantic imagination"
He continued to enlarge his words by way of a description of a woman who with some excitement visited an art gallery in order to engage with dramatic works of art, but on viewing Rembrandt's Philosopher could ONLY see "a man meditating by the window, in a room where there was not much light".
The woman failed to see what Rembrandt so skillfully portrayed; the synergy of gentle light and the shapes that speak so much more than their simple curves do by themselves. Quite simply, the woman had expectations of the wonders she would see at the art gallery and thus failed to appreciate some very real qualities that were there.
A budding landscape photographer could be forgiven for believing that their quest is to catch an elusive ray of light, the drama of a passing storm, the vivid colours of a sunset or the grandness of an impressive landscape. Goodness knows, I spent enough years thinking it was my quest too whilst I acquired a lot of gear with which to realise my ambition but not many satisfactory prints! I've a bookshelf full of examples of such landscape photographs, but over the last few years I've lost the desire to look at images they contain. Whilst the authors of such impressive volumes have undoubtable technical skills and exceptional abilities to "chase the light" and distill a scene into a neat graphical composition, the high levels of sharpness, contrast and saturation don't usually touch me in an emotional sense.
Conversely, there are also photographers who try to do just the opposite in order to be different; their images tend to be low in contrast, loosely composed and often without a definitive focal point. Often, I gracefully accept with no judgement that I don't understand the message that they present in their art. Then there are others who make a very obvious and sincere effort to present images that represent what they saw. That's good with me, but if their ONLY intent is to show an honest representation of something seen, then I think I can sense that and again I will remain emotionally unfocussed.
What I really enjoy, be it something I recognise in my own images, or in anyones else's (whatever the genre or style), is experiencing an emotional response that in some way mirrors what another photographer has desired to express. I don't need for photographs to be technically correct, or to have been made in an "over-romantic" set of conditions for me to gain this experience. I much prefer to realise a photographer's sincerity.
I thought at length before posting this image for it doesn't possess any obvious "wow factor" as far as many photographers would judge. But to me the scene speaks so much of the kinds of places in which I find peace of mind. On a dull day, the cultivated green fields take on a gentle glow that is always washed away in sunlight whilst the hills look foreboding and rough. Hedgerows, groups of trees and scattered farmsteads speak of livelihoods and folk who have made a living over many years. The shape of the fells and the alluvial flatness of the valley describe how the land was formed over millennia. Along with my memories of tramps over all almost every one of these hills, there are colours, stories and history all around that affected and grounded me as I drank in the view and I was grateful for it.
So I thought it important to thank those of you whose blogs I follow who show me that there other ways of seeing things (and beauty), objects that have emotionally affected you and that you have sort to share in a genuine and unpretentious spirit. Thank you.