Landscape photography with Joe Cornish part 1/3 | Phase One

For the last few years I’ve become
more and more interested in and concerned about our relationship with nature. As individuals and as a society,
I really feel that we as human beings have become to remote from the natural world. I have photographed landscape
ever since I have had a camera. Over 35 years now and I still
find it endlessly beguiling, and at times frustrating,
but mostly inspiring. I have used dozens of cameras, mainly film cameras
of course, 35mm, medium formats, large format. Now I have a Linhof Techno view camera,
also a Phase One 645DF camera and on both I’m using the Phase One IQ180. For a lot of the landscape photography I do,
I tend to do quite extreme near-far focusing effects, and for that kind of work
a view camera is ideal, because of the fact that
you can tilt the lens like this, and so manipulate the plane of focus. And that makes it a superb instrument.
Its quite a skilled process. This is a Linhof Techno, a very up to date ….
of a very old camera design, essentially. It works very well with a Phase One back. The subjects of my latest project has the
working title “Awakening the Senses” and the idea is to convey
the physicality of nature. Its textures and colours,
the cold or feeling of warmth, wet or dry surfaces,
sense of space and atmosphere. Its a pretty broad approach, really,
but I’m aiming to get as close, emotionally, as I can, and convey those
ideas an feelings in my pictures. Landscape photographers are
creatures of the light. We often get up in the dark
and come home in the dark, because we need to use the early
and the late light very often to get certain kinds of landscape images. I like to to think of it as
going with the flow with the light. You can’t fight the light, it will always
win if you try to force a situation. I think the essence of being a successful
and happy landscape photographer is to learn the characteristics of
the light and go with that. The tide, especially in Britain, is a really
interesting opportunity and also a challenge to work with as a landscape photographer
because it moves so rapidly. If you have a tidal reach of 5-6-7 meters,
then especially in the mid-tides, the ebbe and flow of the tide are profound. So an idea that looks right in one moment,
once you’ve set your tripod up, within five minutes,
the idea will have changed. You’ll either be flooded out potentially,
or the tide will have disappeared from your picture and you don’t have
the water surrounding the rocks, perhaps, in a way that
would have worked previously. Its a real tricky one. The art of working with the tide is
to anticipate what is likely to happen. You have to learn to go with the
flow just as you do with light. If you try and force the issue or make
a picture that depends on the tide being in the fixed position that you see now,
you are likely to fail because its going to change to quickly. So learning to anticipate is the key.

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