“I am two with nature.”–Woody Allen
René Magritte’s message is rather unambiguous. An image of a “thing” is not the thing itself. But don’t worry, I’m not headed toward a heavy ontological discussion here. I have a simple question which, believe it or not, my overly opinionated philosophical mind has virtually no idea how to answer. Maybe one of you out there can help.
I love nature photography. Flowers, birds, wildlife, oceans, lakes, clouds, mountains, landscapes–you name it, I like looking at these images and they are my favorite to photograph. Good grief, I’ve even photographed mud puddles and insects. And yet I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, what one would call a nature lover. I hate gardening and yard work. I won’t even mow my own lawn as I am allergic to grass pollen. I haven’t been camping in 30 years and only rarely go hiking. I do spend a good bit of time outdoors, but this is almost entirely involved with playing or watching sports. It seems that I prefer a well framed image of nature to the actual experience of nature itself. And to add to the conundrum, this only applies to photographic images. My preferences in other visual arts tends towards styles or schools–Surrealist (Miró), Social Realist (Hopper), Post-impressionist (Seurat, Rousseau, Van Gogh), Geometric Abstraction (Klee, Mondrian). (Here is a link to my favorite contemporary artist, Yanick Lapuh.)
I have only just realized this–and really have no strong ideas about why this should be. A preference for a well-composed image? Remnants from a childhood anxiety of physical reality? Or, like Woody, am I just at two with nature? All you amateur psychologists please provide your opinions by email, snail mail, or pony express. (Comments herein are OK, too)
Below, three of my personal favorite landscape photographs from my own travels, as well as a couple of representative pieces by Monsieur Lapuh.
(Click on images for full size)