Robert Werling on Landscape Photography

I bought Robert Werling’s "Beyond Light: American Landscapes."  To date it is one of my favorite photography books.  The dude still shoots 8x10 view camera.  Cole Weston wrote the highly favorable foreward to the book.  In and of itself, that should tip one off that Robert Werling is worth looking at and reading.  Words seem to have graced the Photo-Secessionists and their heirs because both Cole Weston’s foreward and Bob Werling’s single paragraph in the book are powerful.  (I really appreciate some of what Weston says, but I’ll leave that for a different post.)

Anyway, I found a couple really perfect quotes in Werling’s lone paragraph in the book.

First, Werling says,

"Whenever we encounter a beautiful scene we seem to want to record it and share our sense of wonder.  What we feel deeply is often difficult to put into words, and many photographs are just records of a time or experience.  This leads us to the question of photography and reality.  Is a photograph real or does it merely inform?  Usually, the more information there is and, above all, the more tones there are, the closer we approach reality.  Since the objects we photograph exist in the real world, we need to make some sort of departure in order to present subjects in a more poetic way.  One doesn’t look at something for what it is, but rather for what it could become."

Werling’s struggle to properly enunciate something he feels so vividly, so powerfully, mirrors what I am presently going through.  I increasingly am coming to see that what I have to say about photography, the world I live in, and my connection to it, can only really be communicated through the images themselves. 

Another really fantastic quote from Werling was this one,

"The landscape, perhaps more than any other subject for photography, requires patience and a sensitivity that goes beyond light.  To be constantly observing, to be there, to experience and record and later present to a viewer that which, in some mysterious way, connects to our lives…to me, that’s photography."

I hope this guy wrote a ton more.  I doubt it but I sure hope so.

Also, I took a short skin up into the mountains today.  It was glorious.  Skinning is the only way to get anywhere in the snow.

Peace and Love,