Sunday, 5 May 2013

Eliot Porter - Intimate Landscapes

Eliot Porter Collection Guide

Not someone I've really considered before. This site has an excellent selection of his images - some of which remind me Maeda's work, and many of which seem to pre-empt the works of the likes of Heather Angel.

Edit: 26 May 2013

Had a closer look at these now. I think it’s difficult from this end of history to appreciate quite how much of an impression these photos may have made. Many of the subjects seem to be fairly unremarkable by today’s standards, but it seems clear that his use of colour for things such as bird photography must have made a significant contribution to the development of the field. Reading the painstaking method by which he produced his dye-separation prints makes me glad that I use digital methods, and also drives home that manipulation of contrast and colour in post processing is an age old occupation.

The end result in Porters case are high contrast images with strongly saturated colours which to my mind work better for some subjects than others. His reproductions of Egyptian tomb paintings give an excellent rendition of the surprising brilliance of the colours, and many of the bird photos respond similarly well to his approach. I was less convinced in some of the landscapes which I know to have relatively muted colours – such as the hot springs in Iceland. These lead me to wonder if they look that way in his shots because of the technology, or because he was wedded to a particular look. I suspect the latter as he apparently stuck by his preferred techniques even when simpler ones became available.

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