'Looking For Usnea - Culbin Forest' © 2020 Jim Robertson

“Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject.” – Eliot Porter.

So, what is it? What is this ‘intimate landscape photography’? Well, for the uninitiated, the ideas behind it began to be seen in the mid 1900’s in the work of Eliot Porter, Minor White and Harry Callahan when they took a more detailed look at the landscape. This excluded horizon line and sky, relied on composition only to create interest, and so tended to forsake any spectacular lighting. Typically the images are quieter and invite the viewer to think about a small area of the landscape. The subject and composition are also typically difficult to find and the photographer can often wander a long way in search of that unrevealed composition. The bonus is however that, unlike the wider view, the chances of any other photographer chancing upon your composition is minimal. Focus stacking is often used in Intimate Landscape Photography to create extreme sharpness in the final image. Using a tilt / shift lens will create a similar effect.

My interest in the intimate landscape came from two photographers really. David Ward, whose critically acclaimed first book, 'Landscape Within' and his second title 'Landscape Beyond' are well worth reading. That second title can be difficult to locate these days or can be expensive! The second influence came in the shape of Swedish photographer Hand Strand who over the years has been very helpful towards me. I would mention also two of his publications, 'Intimate 1' and 'Iceland: Above And Below' both of which illustrate so well his skill in intimate landscape photography. Two beautiful books and both well worth having.

As I said in the introduction to my Culbin project "Now, if the light is soft and I am available, I try to get there at least once a week to wander the forest." Wandering and searching are part of the process and Tolkien in his poem "All that is gold does not glitter", written for The Lord of the Rings, has a line which seems to fit the process so well. "Not all those who wander are lost" he said. Sometimes I'm not so sure. Culbin is a large forest after all! This gallery does not contain many images as the bulk of my intimate landscape work is located within my project galleries 'Finding A Path - Culbin Forest' and 'The Hidden Light - Clashach.

Thank you for looking and please be aware that, although all thumbnails for the images appear in portrait mode, images in landscape mode are also included in this selection. Here's a link to some examples of the work of Eliot Porter.