Category Archives: Part 1

Exercise 1.8 – The Zone System

After reviewing the exercise, I recalled an image I had taken many years ago as part of a group who took one photograph a day and posted online. The image no longer exists but I knew that it was the type of image which may benefit from using the zone system.

After reading about the zone system and reading parts of Ansel Adams ‘The Negative’. I decided that I would take the opportunity of taking some related images after attending an appointment with the eye hospital in Edinburgh.

Since I was attending the hospital I only had a mobile phone with me and I knew that I would have to use it to obtain the images. Luckily the device has a option of both live view and the ability to change the explosive through a digital spot meter. While this was a challenge I knew that with a bit of planning I could manage to at least scout the areas and take preliminary images at the very least.

The day before I was attending the hospital I was watching the BBC television program “Civilisations”, a small part of the program was dedicated to Adams and his photography; one of the salient points from the program was that Adams regularly used a red filter I front of his lens when photographing.
With that in mind I knew that whatever images I took I would not only be converting to black and white but first I would be adding a red filter to the image through Photoshop.

When I arrived at my location I was already a bit fatigued from my hospital appointment and having fluorescein pushed though my body, so I was a bit unsteady, so I sat or leant against a wall for these images using one of my crutches as a form of monopod to support my hand.

zones 4

zone 3

The image was slightly easier as I knew that there wold be greater support, at least a wall and a handrail or a large Victorian metal fence to lean on.

zoness 2

Again I knew that I would have support near the ground level.

Zones 1

I was satisfied with these images, I continued to experiment with the zone system at a location near the house and managed to capture this scene between snow showers.

Zone number 2 fence


Below is a collection of other images captured during these days which were considered for the exercise.



The zone system is fascinating and I can see where I have at times already wrong in previous landscape in not taking into account the entire zone system when photographing.

As an aside I was amused by the 11 zones, which may have been the original source of the joke “But this goes up to 11” from the film ‘Spinal Tap’


Adams, A., 1995. The Negative (The Ansel Adams Photography Series, No. 2). Bulfinch.

BBC. 2018. BBC – Civilisations. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 March 2018].

Rob Reiner and Micheal McKean. (1984). Spinal Tap. [Online Video]. Clip “This goes to 11” Available from: [Accessed: 28 March 2018].

Exercise 1.6 – The Contemporary Abyss

In this exercise. We are instructed to read Simon Morleys Essay ‘Staring into the contemporary abyss’, so that we can have an overview of the sublime within visual culture.
We are then asked to choose a body of work that best explores the sublime and then write a least 300 words on how the chosen work relates to the sublime.

I wanted to avoid any of the works mentioned in my previous entry on the sublime, so using the initial image of Albert Speer’s ‘Light Dome’(1937) from Morley’s essay. I reviewed a number of images from the Nuremberg Rally all of which originate from the Nazi Propaganda film “Festliches Nürnberg”

I decided to use the sequence of Images from ‘Cathedral of Light’ a short essay on the rare photographs website about the rally.

In the early eighteenth century Joseph Addison described the notion of the sublime as something that ‘fills the mind with an agreeable kind of horror’. Edmond Burke went further describing the sublime using terms like ‘vastness’ and ‘terror’ as opposed to ‘balance’, ‘colour’ and ‘smoothness’ for beauty. These terms describe the sublime as an aesthetic form which makes the viewer or reader feel off balance and pushed into an uncomfortable feeling.

sublime - Speer - COA 7

The images within ‘Cathedral of light’ do just that. They go straight to the pit of the stomach and pull making the viewer feel both overawed and horrified at the same time.

Albert Speer was the architect for the Third Reich and using the power of film and television, he designed and built their vision of the future in these rallies. His design for this rally in 1937 consisted of 130 search lights pointed skyward to create a series of columns, these columns not only reached far into the sky but could be seen for miles around. Their message was that the Third Reich was not only so powerful that it could turn night into day but that they had to power to reach into heaven itself. They served as a back light and a wall behind Hitler where he would be displayed in a mystical and ceremonial way.

sublime - Speer - COA 6

sublime - Speer - COA 5
Each image demonstrates Speer’s design, which demonstrates the subtle way that Speer used Architecture, Technology and Art as a way of showing how the sublime could be used as a powerful tool by an authoritarian state.

sublime - Speer - COA 4

Speer pulled lights away from the Luftwaffe just for this ceremony, these lights would later be used in wartime where they would spear an aircraft in their column and point the anti aircraft guns at the craft. When this happened it almost certainly signed the death warrant for the aircrew aboard the plane.

The lights here however show that the sublime was used to impress the audience with a show of power and mysticism. This use of power through art makes the viewer uncomfortable not only because of the subject of the images (Nazis) but the way in which the images push the viewer onto the back foot through use of Landscape as a power.


Staring into the contemporary abyss | Tate. 2018. Staring into the contemporary abyss | Tate. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 March 2018].

Rare Historical Photos. 2018. The Cathedral of Light of the Nazi rallies, 1937. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 March 2018].

Cathedral of light – Wikipedia. 2018. Cathedral of light – Wikipedia. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 March 2018].

History Learning Site. 2018. Albert Speer – History Learning Site. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 16 March 2018].




The Sublime

I originally wrote this during the time that I was undertaking the “Context and Narrative course. I never published it at the time and I felt that now was a good time to clean it up and publish it as part of this course as it goes in the subject of the sublime. This article was written after watching the BBC program ‘Art of Gothic’ on iPlayer.  In the program Andrew Graham-Dixon explores how a group of 19th-century architects and artists spurned the modern age and turned to Britain’s medieval past to create iconic works and buildings.

Having first seen Andrew Graham-Dixon on ‘The Art of Russia’, I like to watch some of the series presented by hum. I find him a knowledgeable art historian and a humorously succinct presenter.

In the first episode Graham-Dixon talks about the Age of enlightenment, and how the term ‘Gothic’ was seen by its Italian definition as barbaric and uncivilised. This definition of course, dismisses all of medieval art and culture. In Britain the reformation destroyed a lot of the middle age art and architecture as it was thought to be nothing more than catholic superstition. This architecture was ‘rediscovered’ by the Georgians who first used it in the building style of some their stately homes and in watercolour paintings of ruins and of dark and brooding landscapes.

This led to a revival in literature and art where the horror and shock value could be used to drive a narrative, some of which was driven by the shock at the French revolution. The British Aristocracy were, of course nervous at the events unfolding in France; the horror as the underclasses rising up and overthrowing the monarchy and how they welded the power of the guillotine to remove the heads of state.

Along with paintings of the landscape, the Georgians artists started to review earlier pieces of art with the same eye to the “Gothic sublime” for example, Salvatore Rosa’s ‘Witches at their Incantations’ (Rosa, 1646) (the phrase calls to mind Black Sabbaths ‘War Pigs'(Iommi, Osbourne,Ward and Butler, 1970)) and can be viewed with this idea of symbolic horror, the witches, the maiden, the mother and the crone gather round a tree from which hangs a broken necked body. Some tall birdlike skeleton watches over the scene, the dark eye socket glaring out at the viewer, a toad like creature sits at the bottom of the frame its red lined maw gaping open as if to reach out and bite the viewer if they get too close. It looks ready to reappear in a later Dali painting in a more mutated form.

Could the melancholic meditations at lost art and history have caused the Georgian period of romanticism, and the scientific discoveries of the time, opened their minds to the old fears and superstitions of ghosts and man made monsters? I believe this shows up in writing such as Thomas Parnell’s “A night piece on death” (Parnell, 1721), his graveyard poem reminds us that nothing is eternal and that life is short, his sombre moral message would inspire other writers to take up the idea and write poetry and novels reflecting on the romance of death and longing, and the language of the gothic novel.

This language can be seen in the Painting ‘The nightmare’ (Fuseli, 1781), It shows a woman in deep sleep with her arms thrown below her, and with a demonic and apelike incubus crouched on her chest. The creature may be a representation of what we now know as the condition sleep paralysis; Suffers talk about being held down by a creature on their chest or torso. Fuseli’s painting goes on, the symbolic representation of the mare by the horses head and the horrific nightmare thoughts running through the subjects mind.

Fuseli again takes us on a nightmare vision with ‘Percival Delivering Belisane from the Enchantment of Urma’ (Fuseli 1783), here the main subjects holds back Percival as he strikes out of the painting. His forceful stroke directed at Urma, the wizard, who cowers down hand held up to deflect the blow, Percival hopes to strike down Urma breaking the chains which hold down Belisane and an unknown person whose hand reaches into the frame from the right hand side. Will the blow be strong enough to release the lost souls represented by the nightmare ghostly faces on the left of the scene? Fuseli added a note to the painting when it was shown, directing the viewer to read the takes of Thiot. Lord Byron spent time looking for these tales in his library but could find no reference to these tales; when he asked Fuseli about them, Fuseli admitted that he had made the references up to add a layer of mystery to the painting. This painting pushes Fuseli’s narrative of subjective fear and the unknown disturbances of the mind.

The idea of the painting or novel being inspired by an ancient source can be initially found in the Novel ‘Castle of Otranto’ (Walpole, 1764), Horace Walpole was the first gothic horror novelist and this book with its, ghosts, monsters and villains who take over the body or soul of an innocent. It gives birth to the genre which flooded onto the scene. Walpole can also be credited with creating the idea of Gothic found footage which nowadays can be seen in ‘Blair Witch Project’, ‘Rec’ and ‘Cloverfield’
The idea of presenting a novel as a translation allowed Walpole to add a frisson of mystery to his novel, his Georgian readers would be unsure of the reality of the text.
A reflection of the idea of found art, again in represented in Strawberry hill, Walpole’s house in Twickenham, here the house that he built overflows with gothic architecture inside and out and presents the narrative that Walpole discovered a crumbling ruin and returned it to its gothic magnificence.

Lord Cobham, a contemporary of Walpole, while deeply embedded in the Romanesque architecture of the Gothic age, also took time to create a Gothic Folly on the estate, it was his own take of the medieval ruin with his temple of Liberty on his Stow estate. The temple designed by James Gibbs is very much a medieval Anglo-Saxon church with Gothic highlights dedicated to the Liberty from the absolute power of the monarchy and to the power held by the Whigs of the British Parliament.

Painters, Poets and Artists continued to produce work in this period, not always with the success of Walpole. ‘The Poems of Ossian’, (James Macpherson, 1760) is one of these works, MacPherson published his work in 1760, but it was in 1766 that Charles O’Connor, a well-known Gaelic Scholar, dismissed the authenticity of the work, a dispute which continued until 1952, where it was decided that the poems contained parts of older works from as early as 1310. The dispute however did not mar the influence of the poems as they became the initial influences for such works as ‘Fingal’s Cave’ (Mendelson, 1829) and the Opera ‘Ossian, ou Les Bardes’ (Les Sueur, 1804)
Like MacPherson, Thomas Chatterton, made waves with the Georgian public who were ravenous for more medieval style literature. Chatterton created a number of pieces which he claimed he had found in the attic of an old church. He declared that the work originated from a 15th century medieval monk called Thomas Rowley. He was able to pass his own work off as Rowleys’ mainly due the fact that few people at the time were familiar with medieval poetry, though ironically, he was denounced by Horace Walpole. Chatterton even went as far as the use the backs of 15th century manuscripts as a canvas for his own drawings. Chatterton was one of the first of the Gothic romantic deaths; Chatterton, finding himself destitute, poisoned himself at the age of 17, his death was represented in a play by Alfred du Vigny and the painting ‘The Death of Chatterton'(Wallis, 1856) he became the embodiment of doomed young genius.

Gothic literature now moved east, at the helm of William Beckford, who could be described as a Gothic literature rock star, his life was driven by his desires, as he burned through his inheritance at a eye streaming pace. His novel ‘Vathek’ was inspired by his own profligate, debauched lifestyle, he combined oriental influences with darker Gothic tones, the main character Vathek makes a Faustian deal with a oriental genie spirit so that he can live a life full of debauchery and fulfil all his desires. He tries to break the deal and is devoured by the “devil”. At first Beckford claimed that he had just translated a middle eastern text, but later withdrew that claim and admitted that he had written the novel. The scandals of his life meant that Beckford withdrew from society for 10 years and then on his return built his Gothic home which was the size of a cathedral when it was complete. His architectural design was so full of gothic imagery, that it flowed with arches, towers and stain glass windows. Unfortunately for Beckford his shield against the world collapsed under its own weight. It can now only be seen in the drawings in ‘The Delineation of Fonthill Abbey’ (Rutter, 1823). Rutter’s drawings show an immense palace on a biblical scale, people are physically dwarfed by the height and depth of the building.

Beckfords influence on other authors extended the reach of Gothic literature, one of the most prominent was Ann Radcliffe, whose novels such as ‘the Italian’ and ‘The mysteries of Udolphio’ were seen as a bad influence on young women. These novels were so popular, that you could say that they were the era equivalent of the Twilight novels, their readers were seen to be embedded in the books and that the books caused too much excitement in young women. Such was their popularity that Jane Austen wrote ‘Northanger Abbey’ (Austin, 1798) as a pastiche of Gothic novels, Austin poked fun at the seriousness of the Gothic Novel hoping to break its grip on English literature. Austin’s idea of a young women alone searching a mysterious house would and still does appear again and again in books and films such as ‘Rebecca’ (du Maurier, 1938), (Hitchcock, 1940) and the idea of inflamed imagination, ‘Suspicion’ (Hitchcock 1941)

As these books were being written and published, the French revolution continued, refugees from the revolution fleeing France, would on occasion encounter a young man called Matthew Gregory Lewis, Lewis was a junior British diplomat at the Hague, their stories to him of what was happening in France, influenced Lewis to write ‘The Monk’ (Lewis, 1796). Lewis claimed to have written it quickly in a space of less than 10 weeks and when it was published, it became the prime example of British Gothic horror; the plot was scandalous and convoluted and it became the most important Gothic novels of its time. The metaphorical narrative reflects a warning about the corruption of life which is contained in every-man.

The first episode has focused mainly on the literature but it has shown that there is a cross between the arts and that painting was influenced and the Gothic themes were starting to be explored.


Suspicion –

Exercise 1.5 Transitions

My starting point for this exercise was Turners Bell Rock lighthouse. A painting that I had time to examine while once waiting for a job interview. I was very taken with the waves and the way that Turner has worked the light within the scene to create drama.

I thought about how the lighthouse looked on calm days and how that would make a comparison and a transition from one scene to another.

It is advised by the text that before undertaking this exercise to jump ahead and read the text for Assignment six as this will be the cumulative work taking in points for all along the course. As the subject for Assignment six may be influenced by my choice in this exercise I want to ensure that I choose a subject which can not only be personal to me but will stand out.

I noted a number of ideas and what the possible causes of the transitions within the scene may be, then I had the opportunity to have a chat with my tutor who was able to help clarify my choices and options.


  1. The Royal Mile, this street is in almost constant change as it switches between seasons and events. There are numerous transitions going on; as the locals move between the remaining artefacts’of previous events as well as the tourist churn, weather and big events like the festival and the fringe where local people are pushed into the side streets to get away from the ongoing performances in the Royal Mile itself.
  2. Tantalon Castle from across the bay., this ruined castle sits atop a cliff overlooking a tidal bay. The transitions I was thinking of are, light/dark, weather and the sky.
  3. Dunbar Bridge, there is a small concrete bridge which crosses a river, the river itself is part of a tidal bay and the ends of the bridge are submerged at high tide. The transitions I was thinking of are tide height, light/dark, weather, usage of the bridge and position of the bridge as part of the overall bay.
  4. Edinburgh East End from Calton Hill, Calton Hill overlooks the St. James development area which has recently been demolished and work is ongoing to replace it with a large hotel. Here I was thinking of the transition of the building, the workers, the cranes and all the surrounding parts of the development as the building goes up.
  5. My back garden, as a disabled student this is the easiest idea, the ongoing season changes and planting changes which would happen in the garden over the spring and summer seasons.
  6. Edinburgh and its social balance, I have been reading recently people’s reactions to a planned development in a part of Edinburgh. The development will destroy a local venue used for live music performances and replace it with student accommodation and a hotel.

After discussion with my tutor, I had decided that I would like to continue long of the lines of social politics that I started to explore during my “Context and Narrative” course. I plan to examine the divides in society in Edinburgh through a series of Landscapes. Trying to capture the transitions with in the scene of the class divisions and the protest against some of the gentrification of areas which are ongoing.

Exercise 1.4 What is a photographer

In the first part of the exercise the task is to read de Zayas’ essay Photography and Artistic Photography (de Zayas, 1913) and after reading, to summarise the key points made by de Zayas.

The next task in the exercise is the note personal responses to de Zayas’ point of view and to consider whether the questions he raises are still relevant today.

The final task is, as practitioners, to think about where we stand on the main issue raised by the essay.

de Zayas begins his essay by stating

‘Photography is not Art, but photography can be made to be Art’

He then splits photographers into two main groups and expresses his view on the differences between the two groups that he has defined as photography and artistic photography. In a nutshell, form and objectivity versus creativity.

Photography in the first form, from de Zayas’ point of view, is a process where the photographer captures the actual state, a representation without emotion.

In the second form which de Zayas describes as Artistc-Photogrpahy is a process where the photographer uses their emotions within the representation as a means of expression, to represent more than what can be physically seen within the scene at the first glance.

de Zayas demonstrates his point of view by using two established artists of the time; Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz. de Zayas considers Steichen to be an artist whose work expresses ‘the perfect fusion of the subject and the object’. Stieglitz is considered as being in the process of eliminating the subject in a prescribed Form in order to seek out the ‘pure expression of the object’.

These two groups can sit happily side by side however, the artist can move between the camps as they see fit.

Is de Zayas’ points of view still relevant today?

de Zayas was a Dadaist and at times looked for structure within Art; as William Bohn points out, in his article ‘The Abstract Vision of Maruis de Zayas’, de Zayas used an algebraic formulae to try and demonstrate the human spirit and the thought processes of the artist.

de Zayas’ article was looking at the new forms of photography created due to Eastman’s development of the roll film. This development moved photography from where the photographer had to carry a dark room with them to this new form where images could be captured on ‘plastic’. This new plastic age meant an expansion in how photographs were taken and how a photographer could work. It was no longer the realm of the rich, photography had become a artform that everyone could be involved in.

When the article was written there was a definite divide in what was being considered as ‘art’ and what was not. Photography was still in its infancy and still being used by artists to capture scenes that they could paint later it was still seen as ‘not art’. It was still to ‘instant’ a form for it to be considered as creative.

The idea that photography is ‘not art’ would be challenged only a few years after this article was published as the world moved on, technology and skills advanced and picture making was freed through roll film and new technologies within cameras and lenses.

Now with the digital age and advanced camera technologies, the lines between photography and art are blurred, which makes it, in my own view, very difficult to separate it into only two distinct categories. Especially with the manipulation of images, moving images and digitally created art pieces, now even

something as simple as a selfie with a camera phone comes with a flurry of filters, add-ins and instant adaptions.

As a practitioner where do I stand on this issue?

Where I stand on the issue depends on the brief that I am working to. It may be a direct commission to capture and record an event, something which does not require that an overall artistic viewpoint or changes to the image, unless requested in the brief.

It may be a commission which requires or benefits from an artistic point of view and this would be sought by the person or persons making the request for the commission.

In my own work I look for different points of view and angles as a way of expressing myself, it may be that a simple recording of an event is all I want, or I may want to put my ‘personal representation’ as de Zayas describes it into the piece.

I do have to say that I did find some of what de Zayas wrote as quite disturbing; he expresses in the essay ‘Photography and Photography and Artistic Photography’ some points of view which can be interpreted as racist and white supremacist. His view that proper art can only be created and understood by White Europeans as they are ‘the latest is evolution and consequently the most advanced’ is just wrong and I have to take a personal stand against his view.


de Zayas, Marius (1913) Photography and Artistic Photography [Accessed 07 March 2018].

The Abstract Vision of Marius de Zayas on JSTOR . 2018. The Abstract Vision of Marius de Zayas on JSTOR . [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 07 March 2018].

Anon, 2016. Man Ray: Writings on Art. Tate Publishing.

Exercise 1.3 Establishing Conventions

The exercise tasks us to use multiple resources to find at least 12 examples from 18th and 19th Century Landscape Painters. Then to list the commonalities which can be seen in these paintings.

Using Reference books, web search engines and online articles; I selected the following.

Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828)

Richard_Parkes_Bonington_005 (1)

Figure 1. Normandy (1823), Public Work

Peter De Wint (1784-1849)

Roman Canal, Lincolnshire c.1840 by Peter De Wint 1784-1849

Figure 2. Roman Canal , Lincolnshire (c.1840),

John Sell Cotman (1782-1842)
Llanthony Abbey 1801 by John Sell Cotman 1782-1842Figure 3, Llanthony Abbey (1801), Private Work,


Samuel Scott (1702-1772)
An Arch of Westminster Bridge c.1750 by Samuel Scott c.1702-1772Figure 4. An Arch of Westminster Bridge (c.1750), Private Commission for Sir Lawrence Dundas

William James Mueller (1812-1845)
View of Bologna: Capriccio with Eastern Figures c.1835 by William James M?ller 1812-1845Figure 5. View of Bolognia: Capriccio with Eastern Figures, (c 1835),

Michael Angelo Rooker
ma rooker south east view of winsor castleFigure 6. South View of Windor Castle, 1776, Private Commission, 

John Robert Cozens (1752-1797)
JR Cozens The valley of the Eisak Near Brixen in the TyrollFigure 7. The Valley of the Eisak Near Brixen in the Tyrol, 1783/84, 


Fredrick Erwin Church (1826-1900)
FE Church View to CotopaxiFigure 8. View of Cotopaxi, 1857, Private Commision for Walter Wright

Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900)
1911.4.1_1.tifFigure 9. Aurora Borealis, 1865, Smithsonian Museum,

Asher Brown Durand (1796–1886)
AB Durand Landscape with BirchesFigure 10. Landscape with Birches, c 1855, sold to Jonathan Sturges

Thomas Cole (1801-1848)
1992.14Figure 11. The Fountain of Vaucluse, 1841

Thomas Hearne (1744-1817)
Thomas Herne Glastoburgh AbbeyFigure 12. Glastonbury Abbey (1795), Private Commision

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802
Thomas Girvin Bamburgh CastleFigure 13. Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland (1797-1799)

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 – 1851)
D 5446Figure 14. Edinburgh from Calton Hill (1819)


List of commonalities:

  •  Use of the rule of thirds and lead in lines by many of the artists.
  • The majority of the works have people in the scene
  • A couple of works feature rural scenes feature domesticated animals, none as far as I have chosen feature wild animals.
  • Buildings are shown in the work as either dominating the scene as a ruin or as a main part of the background.
  • The majority are in ‘landscape’ orientation, although few are in the 16:9 ratio.
  • Trees/woodland feature heavily and include water either flowing as a waterfall or standing as a lake. Rivers are shown as calm.
  • The majority show rural scenes of the countryside which are idillyic
  • The sky is either dramatic or it is a blue calm sky
  • The lighting in the majority of the works is golden light.
  • Use of natural tones and vibrant greens

A few of the things that stood out to me:

  •  The shape of the frame fits the work rather than the other way around. It looks as if a few frames have been altered after the work was completed,
  • Later paintings take on the Sublime element, adding drama through colour or composition.
  • Commissions were made by patrons who wanted their “land seat” to be composed as impressive as possible.


The second part of the exercise tasks us with searching for and showing  landscape photographs from any era which conform he commonalities listed.

Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams The_Tetons_and_the_Snake_RiverFigure 15. The Tetons and Snake River (1942)
  • Use of the rule of thirds and lead in line
  • Dramatic Sky
  • Landscape orientation
  • Trees/woodland,
  • River is shown as calm.
  • Grand/Rural Scene

David Speight
David Speight Misty Dawn at Kilchurn castle
Figure 16. Kilchurn Castle at Sunrise  
  • Landscape orientation,
  • Trees/woodland feature heavily and include water either flowing as a waterfall or standing as a lake.
  • The rural scenes of the countryside which are idillyic
  • The sky is both dramatic and it is a blue calm sky
  • The lighting is golden light.
  • Use of natural tones and vibrant greens
  • Use of the rule of thirds

Carr Clifton
Carr Clifton
Figure 17 
  • Use of the rule of thirds
  • Landscape orientation,
  • The majority show rural scenes of the countryside which are idillyic
  • The sky is a blue calm sky
  • The lighting in the majority of the work is golden light.
  • Use of natural tones and vibrant greens

Franco Fontana
Franco Fontana Pugla 1987
Figure 18. Puglia, 1984  
  • Use of the rule of thirds
  • Landscape orientation
  • Trees/woodland feature
  • The majority show rural scenes of the countryside which are idillyic
  • The sky is a blue calm sky
  • The lighting is golden light.
  • Use of natural tones and vibrant greens



The paintings are much more dramatic, some capture the nightmare state of the sublime.
The paintings show ruined abbeys, the photographs mainly show city scenes or striking landscapes; few photographs that I could find would have a ruin as the main subject of the scene or work.

The photographs show a more realistic scene, the colours are more vibrant. The contrast is better in the photographs and in all they have a more natural feel to them.

Very photographs have people within the scene in the same composition as the paintings; I struggled to find photographic work and compositions which reflected a similar scene to the paintings.

Attribution of Figures

Figure 1,
Richard Parkes Bonington, (1823), Normandy [ONLINE]. Available at:[Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 2,
Peter De Wint, (1840), Roman Canal, Linconshire [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 3,
John Sell Cotman, (1801), Llanthony Abbey [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 4,
Samuel Scott, (1750), An Arch of Westminster Bridge [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 5,
William James Muller, (1835), View of Bologna: Capriccio with Eastern Figures [ONLINE]. Available at:[Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 6,
Michael Angelo Rooker, (1776), South View of Windor Castle [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 7,
John Robert Cozens, (1783), The Valley of the Eisak Near Brixen in the Tyrol, [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 8,
Frederic Edwin Church, (1857), View to Cotopaxi [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 9,
Frederic Edwin Church, (1865), Aurora Borealis [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 10,
Asher Brown Durand, (1855), Landscape with Birches [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 11,
Thomas Cole, (1841), The Fountain of Vaucluse [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 12,
Thomas Hearne, (1795), Glastonbury Abbey [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 13,
Thomas Girtin, (1797), Bamburgh Castle [ONLINE]. Available at:[Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 14,
JMW Turner, (1819), Edinburgh from Calton Hill [ONLINE]. Available at:[15158]=15158&search_set_offset=27#related-media-anchor [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 15,
Ansel Adams, (1942), Grand Tetons and the Snake River [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 16,
David Speight. (2018), Kilchurn Castle at Sunrise {ONLINE]. Available from:

Figure 17,
Carr Clifton, (2018), Appalachian Mountains [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].

Figure 18,
Franco Fontana, (1987), Puglia [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2018].



Artcyclopediacom. 2018. Artcyclopediacom. [Online]. [23 February 2018]. Available from:

In-text citation: (Artcyclopediacom, 2018)

The guardian. 2017. Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017. [Online]. [23 February 2018]. Available from:

In-text citation: (The guardian, 2017)

Phototracescom. 2016. Phototracescom. [Online]. [23 February 2018]. Available from:

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Part 1 Exercise 1.2 Photography in the museum or in the gallery – Reflections on ‘Photography’s Discursive Spaces: Landscape/ View’ by Rosalind Krauss.

We are asked to read and review the essay which was available online at

The essay was first printed and published in 1982 in Art Journal, Vol. 42

The essay starts with an analysis of two images of Tufa Dome, Pyramid Lake, comparing two contrasting images of the same space. The photograph by O’Sullivan (1868) is described by Krauss as mysterious, hallucinatory, abstract, as the image shows the rocks as undifferentiated, the water and sky connect in a seamless mist which disconnects the rocks from reality and makes them float, no longer held to material space rather that they are alone in the vague luminosity leaving the viewer alone and left to interpret what is in the background and what is or is not there.

Krauss then proceeds to describe the second image which is a lithograph print of O’Sullivan’s “Tufa Dome” published in a scientific journal, using such terms and expressions as: explained, definitive shape, detail, massed, gravity and direction restored, as we can see the foreground and background are clearly defined in the lithograph, the rocks cast shadows and their detail defined in the contrasts.

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Comparing the photograph to the lithograph, Krauss points out the ‘demotion from strange to commonplace’, she attributes this change to the distinctly different ‘domains of culture’ that these images belonged to and the differences in the ‘expectations in the user of the image.’ The photograph can be seen to be closer to art while the lithograph is more of a scientific document.
Krauss then goes on to question the reasoning behind the origin of O’Sullivan’s photograph. Did O’Sullivan want to create an image intended for geographical/topological research or was he aiming to create an image intended for interpretation and discourse. It also asks where does the final photograph stand, is it art? Certainly, in the nineteenth century landscapes were being increasingly displayed in galleries and the drive for commissioned landscapes helped to push the landscape into the modern aesthetic as more and more artists interpreted and displayed the world around them as they saw it.

Sullivan’s image is reminiscent of an image from fellow war photographer Roger Fenton. O’Sullivan like Fenton captured images from the battlefield, O’Sullivan show his competence and skill in “The battle of Gettysburg” where he is able to frame and capture a landscape of destruction. It is a much closer and tighter frame than Fenton’s “Valley of Death”.

Tufa Dome may have been influenced by Fenton’s Crimean War work as there are reflections of “Sebastapol from the redoubt des Anglais” each image has a clear foreground which stretches off into an unclear distance where the horizon is difficult to see or define, both images achieve a dreamlike state through this effect.

Krauss then asks about the purpose of the gallery wall as a ‘space of exhibition’; the gallery space to provide a display, the ground of criticism, and the explicit inclusion or exclusion of an image on the gallery wall ’ and the resulting influence on the gallery aesthetic where the exhibition wall becomes a representation of ‘exhibitionality,’ and once a painting or photograph is displayed for exhibition in any shape, or form then it is considered as being art by both the gallery and the people who view the image or images. This then asks the question on the purpose of the gallery wall and who decides what is shown in these spaces.

Krauss points out that there is always a requirement for discourse on discursive spaces in photography, due to the need for different subject matter and where these images are presented and the differing aspects to the display of a single image in of their diverse forms, dependent on the type of display and audience. Krauss however appears to be focussed only on painting and that the gallery space can be filled with other objects; from sculptures to large installations and she does not define their place in the discursive space. So again, while I agree that there is an element of inclusivity on the gallery space, it is not merely a device from which to display the value of the exhibition.
Krauss mentions the other end of the artists collection which is the personal collection which has been created over time. Krauss focussed on Atget and his “Paris” photographs, through the “Old France” exhibition at the MOMA in 1985. Her essay then goes on to ask if his collection of images held within his own filling system could be viewed as his Oeuvre and that his collection is unstable and unfocussed. I believe that Atget was a continuous learner and that he shot and reshot “views” as he came to understand how the process worked and how that it could be influenced by previous artwork. Atget is an artist as his thinking and processing work can be seen in his collection; most of which was for his own personal view. He may have been too modest to gather his “best work” for display. Only through time can our view now and the view of curators can we see his work. Krauss article is based on only one quarter of the images display at the MOMA exhibition; they went onto show three more exhibitions of Atget’s work, means that Krauss had based her views on only a part of what could be seen and that Krauss had sped ahead of the museums curators and that she had not made a complete consideration of the complete work. As Papageorge pointed out in “core Curriculum” Krauss did not wait for the collection to play out and that meant that Krauss was unwilling to consider photography as Art per say.

Krauss does make a good point about exclusivity and how certain styles can be pushed to the forefront due to their popularity within the gallery and outside the gallery by what people commission. I disagree with Krauss regarding photography as Art, from its inception Photography has been intertwined with art, both as a guide for later paintings but also allowing Artist to experiment with composition quicker and if many differing styles. (1982). Photography’s Discursive Spaces: Landscape/View. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Feb. 2018].

Gordon, S. (2017). Shadows of war. 1st ed. Berkshire: The Royal Collection Trust, pp.164-165.

Papageorge, T. (2011). Core curriculum. New York: Aperture. pp12-29



Part 1 Exercise 1.1

In this, the first exercise, we are tasked to draw a rough sketch of a landscape or describe and make notes of a landscape. Either way the exercise is to examine the preconceptions about landscape that I may have and then to review these preconceptions to see how they fit with the reality of landscape and Art.

While I went straight to reviewing images from Turner and Constable before the course material started I had already started to realised that I had a number of preconceptions. When the course material arrived and I started this exercise I realised that these preconceptions can easily be challenged and some of the “rules” that I instantly thought of can be broken. At this point no rules are really set in concrete and this course should help me challenge myself.

What I sketched was a simple view looked over a road and off into the distance, I could see people, movement, a fixed foreground, deep depth perception as the view moved off towards the horizon.

I can see that straight away I fixed the horizon in the middle of the view and that this itself is one of my main preconceptions which I shall have to break.

The exercise also asks that I write a few lines on why we chose to study this course and what we hope to learn from it.

I chose landscape as I wanted to continue to challenge myself; I had just completed my last level 1 course (Context and Narrative) and I enjoyed the challenge of that course and I felt that I was time that I stepped up. Personally, I am fascinated by landscape artists and I want to learn all that I can about the style, technique and challenges of not only putting the countryside into frame but also seascape, architecture, cityscape and the combination of these together. I want to see how I express myself through this work and help strengthen and expand my voice as an artist.