The School of Life is a great Youtube channel I’ve been enjoying recently, with videos narrated by philosopher and author Alain de Botton, whose books I also recommend. This recent video, “What Is Art For”, raised some great points about the purpose of art. It especially resonated with me in terms of some of the things I think are vitally important in landscape and nature photography, beauty and emotion.
I was once asked at a presentation to art students if I felt my work promoted an idealized version of the landscape, and therefore ignored or tried to avoid some of the realities of our environment. It was a surprise for sure, and you can imagine the sudden silence in the room as I considered the question, and my entire purpose for making pictures. But it didn’t take me very long to respond that indeed, my goal was to convey what we need in our lives, what seems hard to find at times, whether beauty, purity, or an ideal we can strive for regardless of the circumstances. I photograph to share what I find most important about life, the gift we’ve been given here on this earth. And I suspect others seek similar moments of clarity and purpose.
This video does a great job of illustrating many of the ideas I share about art, and I hope it gives you a stronger sense of why your landscape photography still matters, and why it’s important regardless of your ability or competence level.
It’s also great to see them use a few paintings from the Hudson River School – beautiful indeed.