Work In Progress (WIP) is a new series I just came up with. The goal is to share ongoing long-term concepts and photo series. We at DS talked a lot about personal development as a photographer, and, in my opinion, there’s little more pro than thinking in series and concepts spanning over a long period of time, wrapping up different opportunities under one strategic umbrella. We also celebrate the mindset of open learning, as you can grow faster when you share your successes, failures and learnings with others and gather feedback and inspiration as fast as possible. This is also an invitation to regular and irregular contributors, as well as our beloved readership to participate and share what you are currently working on. Let me start first …
I read a rant article about the current state of landscape photography a couple of years ago, about how over-processed everything is, how artificial, too much HDR, ultra-wide angle… There is simply a huge gap between 500px top landscape shots and the nature you see just outside your door.
I totally agreed. I want to photograph nature as I see it. So I went to the next woods and took some random shots. They turned out great. Not only did they show “natural” nature as intended, but they also evoke something within me. I loved the opposites they represent: structures and uncontrollability, simplicity and complexity, beauty and grime.
So I did some more photos in a different place. This time with some early hoar-frost. Same thoughts: I simply loved the verticality of the repeating lines, the gritty atmosphere they created and the limited color palette.
I posted these shots together as “Deutscher Winterwald” (Winterly Forest) in 2014.
A couple of months later, I had a short trip to Saxon Switzerland in South-Germany. Again, I also took a few photos in a similar way.
And I now started thinking about something bigger than just some random shots here and there. But what particular attracts me?
Well, it’s not a documentation project of the current state of forest, nor is it a general lifelike approach to landscape photography. What eventually interests me is the chaos of such structures … and then bringing a visual anchor to that chaos; a kind of order. A quick look into the woods reveals natural chaos. That’s quite uninteresting to me at this point. But I, as the photographer, the creator, the filter, can guide the viewer into this chaos by selectively pointing at a structure or subject that creates order to the chaos. In the forest that can be a tree that strikes out of the others, or separation through depth of field, or the emphasis of repeating patterns, or a path through these chaotic structures. So the working title and concept “Order In Chaos” evolved. I now started taking photos for this overarching series whenever I had the opportunity.
I especially like the last ones in stark black & white from my Dead Lake series.
But I have only focussed on forest so far. I’d like to step-up the level. “Chaos” is not just limited to tree trunks. What else can be uncontrollable? (Images are for illustration purpose only)
But the more I try to expand the concept, the more I feel I’m losing focus. And when I add more different scenes, I need many more. I can’t just take 10 forest images, 1 cityscape and 1 people. I’d need one of each. I’m uncertain.
And that’s pretty much the current state of the series. I made sense of those random shots with which I started 2½ years ago, will continue to add more photos over time and am trying to expand the variety of subjects, and finally see how far I’ll get with that.
It’s a mess though, taken with different gear, at different times, at different situations, with very different post-processing, and particularly for different purposes. Especially the new expandable directions are just moods from my vault.
So, there you have it. One of my unfinished series. What do you think? Anything valuable in there? Where do you think I have to start carving out the diamond — if any?
And I’m excited to see your pearls shown here soon. So just start writing, send it to Pascal via the contact form (contact him first of course) and we will all grow together.
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