Beauty is not only in faraway places. Beauty is not the mountain vista or the oceanscape that is thousands of miles from where you live. The grass is NOT greener on the other side of the fence.
These past ten years since I took up landscape photography after having put down my work camera many years ago have been an eye opening experience.
Many things have changed over the last decade. Digital cameras are common. Not only do many, many more people own high quality digital slrs but almost everyone has a smartphone with a camera capable of taking very decent quality images.
Amateurs have become proficient users of Photoshop, once the bastion of only professional photographers and retouchers. Photos are taken every day, everywhere.
I manage a very large group in Flickr, the popular and one of the original photo sharing websites. Everyday I edit over 600 images before any are accepted to the group and yet the majority of images that I see are taken near the ocean, in the mountains or by a lake.
Those are naturally beautiful places. They are the low hanging fruit of the photography world. What could be more obvious than a serene mountain lake at sunrise with wildflowers in the foreground? Easy huh? Well, not so easy to take a great photo of that but easy to see and appreciate the beauty. That is very, very low hanging fruit.
Sadly many new photographers have learned that there are only a few types of landscapes worth taking and the result? Almost every single image that I see in my group and on the internet looks painfully… the same.
Yeah, some are better than others. Some are awful and others are magnificent but when you squint your eyes there is a sameness that after seeing hundreds of thousands of images makes them look unimaginative, not creative in the least and most of all, BORING.
Look, I like a pretty mountain photo as much as the next person but what really makes my eye do a double take is when I see something that I have seldom or never seen before. It is the artist and I use that word intentionally that is seeing and creating.
I have grown tired of the lack of imagination in even the most popular of landscape photographers on the internet. They are really good at maintaining a sameness in all of their photographs. They are really good at painting inside the lines and not straying from the safe and known.
If you come across any landscape photographers that have a unique vision, a distinct style and are able to create the unusual I would be ever so glad to hear about them.
In the meantime,