Pure Landscape


Landscape Photographs by Nicholas Whitman

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This series documents the interactions between forces of nature and the aftermath. These images are at once a literal representation and also evoke the emotional feeling of a scene.

A body of work is defined by its limits. This series is of pure landscape with no discernible human activity and no human-made objects in any form.

I find that this border is critical.  If there is even the smallest hint of humanity the scene becomes about man’s relation to nature. Human-made objects are easily comprehensible.  We know what they mean and their function and judge the scene by the object and its relationship to the surroundings. The scene becomes a setting for a human endeavor.

With pure landscape, the interplay of natural objects is the subject.  But even the purest landscape photograph involves at least two people: the photographer and the viewer.  Natural objects will be interpreted in a way which makes sense to us.

Sometimes it is not literal and is defined by the imagination.  For example, looking at a pattern and finding familiar shapes. Or, more simply put – “hey look at that, looks like …” you fill in the blank.  This is a projection rather than an analytical interpretation.  It indulges our human nature of arbitrary association. It is possible to concoct images that are literal, sharp and articulate yet meaningless, save our imagination. This is a core riddle of the work.  It engages logic and emotion; contemporary knowledge collides with the long-guiding influences of superstition and intuition.

There are times in the field when all the pieces come together – a place that is an amalgam of light, subject, and emotional connection. This is what beckons me into nature to create photographs.

The resulting images are a confirmation of the chase.  Can they represent that initial electricity of seeing and feeling?  And I do mean, “represent” in the purest form – as in “to present again”.

Can viewing an image evoke the original feeling of wonder?


This collection was exhibited in spring 2014 at Umbrella Arts and Metro Curates 2015, NYC.