Those Pesky Icons

October 29, 2018  •  1 Comment

The BluesThe BluesGrand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

In an interesting coincidence two photographers whose work I admire have come to perhaps similar conclusions about iconic landscapes.  My friend Alex has written his goodbyes to Instagram and Flickr and in that essay discussed an aversion to iconic landscapes and, for similar reasons, sunsets (and I imagine sunrises should he live on the American east coast).  And, as if it were a coordinated effort, Thomas Heaton, a UK photographer whose YouTube channel I watch regularly discussed his Mesa Arch experience from a Moab seminar where he was leading workshops.  Both opinions leave one with the thought that the icon experience can be (and in my opinion, is) a frustrating journey and not always worth the effort.  Now that I've experienced a few icons I tend to agree.  I wrote about it in 2014 where I gave a moderate defense of icons but today, I'd pass them by.  Today, I'd do what Thomas suggests and find other viewpoints, other more intimate scenes; looking to seeing the landscape with my eyes and not those of a million Instagrammers. 


Todd Henson(non-registered)
I have nothing against iconic scenes, per se. I enjoy viewing them, and I still enjoy viewing some photographs of them, though it's easy to get overloaded when there are so many of them out there. But I do find myself passing by locations with large crowds, which are usually the more iconic of locations. The more people around the less creative I feel. That's a flaw I'd love to overcome, but at this point it is what it is. I completely agree with you about seeking out other viewpoints and more intimate scenes, which can have so much more subtlety than an iconic landscape. I can't claim yet to be very good at this, but it's something I'm working on.
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