Eliot Porter was one of the first adapters to colour film, an inventor of the ‘intimate landscape’ and an active environmentalist. Porter showed that Intimate Landscapes were another way for us to highlight the natural environment and wildlife and to increase awareness , understanding and support of conservation efforts. Intimate Landscapes focuses on small, unique parts of that landscape and extracts from the overall scene. If you have not heard of Eliot Porter I recommend you look him up and see examples of his great work.
My challenge is that instead of rushing out to catch that epic landscape during the golden rays of sunrise or sunset, we take a deep breath and contemplate our surroundings. We examine the beauty of where we are a little closer, look for the ‘Intimate landscape’ or the beauty of the ‘small world’ around us.
An Intimate Landscape may be achieved by:
- Get some focal length – put that wide angle back in the bag.
- Go below or above the horizon
- Use soft or consistent light – mid day sun and shade can be your allies
- Emphasise patterns, lines, shapes and colours
- Open up the aperture – shoot as low as you can go
- Use a tripod
- Slow down the action – try a polarising or ND filter to reduce the shutter
- Look for new perspectives – get down, get up, go sideways
- Less is more
That’s my challenge to you, photograph an Intimate Landscape – show me what inspired you to fire the shutter.