Brand New Topography Project – My Initial Thoughts and Research

I have been set the task of looking into Topography.
This is something I have never even heard of so I didn’t even know where to start with it all!
I did a quick Google search, but didn’t come up with much so I decided to delve a little deeper and research some photographers that have been associated with this subject.

I came across an interview with the founder of the Topographic Movement, William Jenkins, and a quote from him

“The pictures were stripped of any artistic frills and reduced to an essentially topographic state, conveying substantial amounts of visual information but eschewing entirely the aspects of beauty, emotion and opinion.”

I then started to look into images from the Topography Movement and was quite surprised at what I found.
The photographs were of everyday buildings, suburban landscapes and country landscapes.
At first glance I didn’t find these images particularly interesting as these were the kind of scenes I was used to seeing everyday, but then I started to think that maybe that was the point.
These images were showing the raw streets, nothing fancy, nothing added or particularly artistic about them. Just their ordinary state which in a way I found quite a refreshing perspective, there seemed to be an emphasis on the relationship between man and the natural landscape and how man has effected the locations.

After looking through a few photographers, I came across a familiar name, Robert Adams.
I found his images very interesting when I had first came across his work. The tones in his black and white images were very appealing to me and I found them very unique.

Burning Oil

“Burning Oil”

Adam’s work was all to do with man altered landscapes.
So in the image above he is showing a natural landscape, not showing much manmade effects other than the smoke of burning Oil.
His images almost show a comparison and the viewer can imagine what it was like before it was altered.
The background of the image looks so natural, it shocks the viewer when they see the black billows of smoke that man has added.
So Adam’s work was a big part of the Topographic Movement, his images show clearly and brutally how man has affected these natural landscapes.

"Mobile Home"

“Mobile Home”

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